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University  of  California  •  Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office  University  of  California 

The  Bancroft  Library  Berkeley,  California 

University  History  Series 
Department  of  History  at  Berkeley 

Kenneth  M.  Stampp 


With  an  Introduction  by 
John  G.  Sproat 

Interviews  Conducted  by 

Ann  Lage 

in  1996 

Copyright  c  1998  by  The  Regents  of  the  University  of  California 

Since  1954  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office  has  been  interviewing  leading 
participants  in  or  well-placed  witnesses  to  major  events  in  the  development  of 
Northern  California,  the  West,  and  the  Nation.  Oral  history  is  a  method  of 
collecting  historical  information  through  tape-recorded  interviews  between  a 
narrator  with  firsthand  knowledge  of  historically  significant  events  and  a  well- 
informed  interviewer,  with  the  goal  of  preserving  substantive  additions  to  the 
historical  record.  The  tape  recording  is  transcribed,  lightly  edited  for 
continuity  and  clarity,  and  reviewed  by  the  interviewee.  The  corrected 
manuscript  is  indexed,  bound  with  photographs  and  illustrative  materials,  and 
placed  in  The  Bancroft  Library  at  the  University  of  California,  Berkeley,  and  in 
other  research  collections  for  scholarly  use.  Because  it  is  primary  material, 
oral  history  is  not  intended  to  present  the  final,  verified,  or  complete 
narrative  of  events.  It  is  a  spoken  account,  offered  by  the  interviewee  in 
response  to  questioning,  and  as  such  it  is  reflective,  partisan,  deeply  involved, 
and  irreplaceable. 


All  uses  of  this  manuscript  are  covered  by  a  legal  agreement 
between  The  Regents  of  the  University  of  California  and  Kenneth  M. 
Stampp  dated  February  27,  1997.  The  manuscript  is  thereby  made 
available  for  research  purposes.  All  literary  rights  in  the 
manuscript,  including  the  right  to  publish,  are  reserved  to  The 
Bancroft  Library  of  the  University  of  California,  Berkeley.  No  part 
of  the  manuscript  may  be  quoted  for  publication  without  the  written 
permission  of  the  Director  of  The  Bancroft  Library  of  the  University 
of  California,  Berkeley. 

Requests  for  permission  to  quote  for  publication  should  be 
addressed  to  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office,  486  Library, 
University  of  California,  Berkeley  94720,  and  should  include 
identification  of  the  specific  passages  to  be  quoted,  anticipated 
use  of  the  passages,  and  identification  of  the  user.  The  legal 
agreement  with  Kenneth  M.  Stampp  requires  that  he  be  notified  of  the 
request  and  allowed  thirty  days  in  which  to  respond. 

It  is  recommended  that  this  oral  history  be  cited  as  follows: 

Kenneth  M.  Stampp,  "Historian  of  Slavery, 
the  Civil  War,  and  Reconstruction, 
University  of  California,  Berkeley,  1946- 
1983,"  an  oral  history  conducted  in  1996 
by  Ann  Lage,  Regional  Oral  History  Office, 
The  Bancroft  Library,  University  of 
California,  Berkeley,  1998. 

Copy  no. 

Kenneth  M.  Stampp,  1980s. 

Cataloguing  information 

Kenneth  M.  Stampp  (b.  1912)  Professor  of  History 

Historian  of  Slavery,  the  Civil  War,  and  Reconstruction,  University  of 
California,  Berkeley,  1946-1983.   1998,  x,  313  pp. 

Family  and  youth  in  Milwaukee,  Wisconsin;  studies  in  history  at  University 
of  Wisconsin:  radical  politics  of  the  1930s,  pacifism,  graduate  studies 
with  Professor  William  Hesseltine,  influence  of  historian  Charles  Beard; 
teaching  during  World  War  II  at  the  University  of  Arkansas  and  University 
of  Maryland,  colleagues  Richard  Hofstadter  and  C.  Wright  Mills;  professor 
of  history  at  Berkeley,  1946-1983:  departmental  governance,  faculty  hiring 
and  promotions,  affirmative  action  efforts,  loyalty  oath  controversy; 
issues  of  civil  rights  and  civil  liberties  at  UC:  reflections  on  Free 
Speech  Movement  and  anti-war  protests  of  1960s-1970s;  research,  writing, 
and  teaching  on  slavery,  the  American  Civil  War,  and  Reconstruction; 
reflections  on  historiography  and  changing  interpretations  of  the  past. 

Introduction  by  John  G.  Sproat,  Professor  Emeritus  of  History, 
University  of  South  Carolina. 

Interviewed  1996  by  Ann  Lage  for  the  Department  of  History  at 
Berkeley  series. 

TABLE  OF  CONTENTS --Kenneth  M.  Stampp 


INTRODUCTION  by  John  G.  Sproat  iv 


Family  and  Early  Childhood  in  Milwaukee  1 
Backing  Away  from  Religious  Tradition  5 
Hard  Lessons  at  a  Young  Age  9 
Boyhood  Interests  14 
Elementary  and  High  School  Education  17 
Milwaukee  State  Teachers  College-- 1931  23 
Aunt  Selma  and  the  University  of  Wisconsin-- 1933  25 
Radical  Politics  and  Pacifism  27 

1933-1941  33 
The  Madison  Campus  in  the  Thirties  33 
Professors  Hesseltine,  Nettels,  Otto,  and  Perlman  36 
Depression  Era  Students  at  Wisconsin  41 
The  Fraternity  Experience,  and  a  Romance  43 
The  Graduate  Program  in  History  at  Madison  47 
Master's  Thesis  on  Antislavery  in  the  South  50 
A  Teaching  Position  at  Milton  High  School  52 
Teaching  Assistant  to  William  Hesseltine  56 
Richard  Nelson  Current  58 
Ph.D.  Qualifying  Exams  62 
Dissertation:  Indiana  Politics  during  the  Civil  War  66 
A  Year  in  Indiana  73 
Marriage  to  Katherine  Mitchell,  1939  78 
Trip  to  Washington,  D.C.,  during  Wartime  Debates,  1940  80 
Circuit  Rider  for  University  of  Wisconsin  Extension  82 

University  of  Arkansas,  1941-42:  Life  and  Teaching  in 

Fayetteville  84 
Ph.D.  Oral  Exams  with  Hesseltine,  Higby,  and  Perlman:  December 

10,  1941  90 

Hired  at  University  of  Maryland,  1942  93 

Four  Good  Years  at  Maryland:  Colleagues  and  University  Politics    95 

University  President  Curly  Byrd  96 

Richard  Hofstadter  99 

Radical  Sociologist  C.  Wright  Mills  102 

Academic  Freedom  Issues  at  Maryland  105 

Job  Hunting,  Losses,  and  Intellectual  Connections  108 

American  Historical  Association  Presidential  Election,  1944  111 

Family  and  Publication  during  the  War  Years  112 

Research  Project:  Lincoln  during  the  Secession  Crisis  114 

An  Offer  from  Berkeley  120 
Migrating  to  the  West  Coast  123 
Settling  into  Teaching  and  Publishing  127 

An  Offer  from  the  University  of  Illinois  131 

A  Break  with  Hesseltine  133 

Moving  Away  from  Beardian  Economic  Determinism  138 

Loyalty  Oath  at  Berkeley  141 

Personal  Politics  Postwar  142 

The  Oath  and  Colleagues  in  History  144 

Aftermath  149 

Recruiting  and  Promoting  in  the  History  Department:  Turning 

Points  151 

William  J.  Bouwsma,  Armin  Rappaport  151 

Joseph  Levenson  157 

Carl  Bridenbaugh  160 

Graduate  Students,  and  Women  in  the  History  Department  164 

The  Peculiar  Institution  170 

Researching  Slavery  and  Living  in  the  South,  1952-53  175 

Reviews  and  Responses  186 

Reflections  on  Slave  Religion  and  Culture  194 

The  Morrison  Chair,  1957  198 

Fulbright  Lecturer  at  the  University  of  Munich,  1957  200 

Commonwealth  Funds  Lectures,  University  of  London,  1960  204 

Acting  Chairman  in  a  Growing  Department,  1959-60  205 

Hans  Rosenberg,  Carl  Schorske  206 

A  Marriage  Ends  211 
Collaborating  on  an  American  History  Textbook  213 
Harmsworth  Professor  at  Oxford,  1961-62  216 

Life  in  Queens  College  217 

Lecturing,  Friends,  and  Travel  220 

Marriage  to  Isabel  224 

1960S-1970S  227 
Bridenbaugh,  Kuhn,  and  Dupree  227 
SLATE,  Free  Speech  on  Campus,  and  the  Civil  Rights  Movement  230 

Marching  from  Selma  to  Montgomery  231 
The  Free  Speech  Movement  and  the  Senate  Committee  on  Academic 

Freedom  234 

Division  Among  the  Faculty  239 

Personal  Political  Views  243 

Black  Nationalism,  Black  Studies  Program  245 

Student  Strike,  1970:  Rights  and  Responsibilities  248 

Politics  and  the  Organization  of  American  Historians  249 

President  of  the  OAH,  1977-1978  251 

Consequences  of  Campus  Activism  254 

The  Era  of  Reconstruction  257 

Revising  California  History  Textbooks  and  Max  Rafferty,  1964  260 

Munich  Lectures,  1968:  Changes  in  the  German  Students  261 

Personnel  Committee  and  Affirmative  Action,  1970s- 1980s  262 

Thoughts  on  the  Quarter  System  264 

Briefly  on  America  in  1857  266 

"The  Irrepressible  Conflict":  Slavery  as  the  Cause  of  the  Civil 

War  268 

"Southern  Road  to  Appomattox":  The  Failure  of  the  Confederacy     271 

Huntington  Library  and  America  in  1857  275 

The  Lincoln  Prize  276 

Rethinking  Former  Views  278 

Looking  at  Lincoln  279 

"Rebels  and  Sambos"  and  the  Black  Culture  281 

Current  Themes  in  History  and  the  Neglect  of  Political  History    284 

An  Epic  and  Tragic  Sense  286 

Working  with  Graduate  Students  287 

Dissertations:  Problems  with  Prose  289 

John  G.  Sproat  292 

Thoughts  on  Retirement:  Making  the  Transition  295 
Isabel's  Illnesses  296 
The  Four  Children  299 



"Commemorating  Stampp,"  Cal  Monthly,  March/April  1984  304 

INDEX  305 


The  Department  of  History  at  Berkeley  oral  history  series  grew  out 
of  Gene  Brucker's  (Professor  of  History,  1954-1991)  1995  Faculty 
Research  Lecture  on  "History  at  Berkeley."  In  developing  his  lecture  on 
the  transformations  in  the  UC  Berkeley  Department  of  History  in  the 
latter  half  of  the  twentieth  century,  Brucker,  whose  tenure  as  professor 
of  history  from  1954  to  1991  spanned  most  of  this  period,  realized  how 
much  of  the  story  was  undocumented. 

Discussion  with  Carroll  Brentano  (M.A.  History,  1951,  Ph.D. 
History,  1967),  coordinator  of  the  University  History  Project  at  the 
Center  for  Studies  in  Higher  Education,  history  department  faculty  wife, 
and  a  former  graduate  student  in  history,  reinforced  his  perception  that 
a  great  deal  of  the  history  of  the  University  and  its  academic  culture 
was  not  preserved  for  future  generations.   The  Department  of  History, 
where  one  might  expect  to  find  an  abiding  interest  in  preserving  a 
historical  record,  had  discarded  years  of  departmental  files,  and  only  a 
fraction  of  history  faculty  members  had  placed  their  personal  papers  in 
the  Bancroft  Library.1 

Moreover,  many  of  the  most  interesting  aspects  of  the  history—the 
life  experiences,  cultural  context,  and  personal  perceptions—were  only 
infrequently  committed  to  paper.2  They  existed  for  the  most  part  in  the 
memories  of  the  participants. 

Carroll  Brentano  knew  of  the  longtime  work  of  the  Regional  Oral 
History  Office  (ROHO)  in  recording  and  preserving  the  memories  of 
participants  in  the  history  of  California  and  the  West  and  the  special 
interest  of  ROHO  in  the  history  of  the  University.   She  and  Gene  Brucker 
then  undertook  to  involve  Ann  Lage,  a  ROHO  interviewer /editor  who  had 
conducted  a  number  of  oral  histories  in  the  University  History  Series 
and  was  herself  a  product  of  Berkeley's  history  department  (B.A.  1963, 
M.A.  1965).   In  the  course  of  a  series  of  mutually  enjoyable  luncheon 

'The  Bancroft  Library  holds  papers  from  history  professors  Walton 
Bean,  Woodbridge  Bingham,  Herbert  Bolton,  Woodrow  Borah,  George 
Guttridge,  John  Hicks,  Joseph  Levenson,  Henry  May,  William  Alfred 
Morris,  Frederic  Paxson,  Herbert  Priestley,  Engel  Sluiter,  Raymond 

2Two  published  memoirs  recall  the  Berkeley  history  department:  John 
D.  Hicks,  My  Life  with  History  (Lincoln:  University  of  Nebraska  Press, 
1968)  recalls  his  years  as  professor  and  dean,  1942-1957;  Henry  F.  May 
reflects  on  his  years  as  an  undergraduate  at  Berkeley  in  the  thirties  in 
Coming  to  Terms  (Berkeley:  University  of  California  Press,  1987). 


meetings,  the  project  to  document  the  history  of  the  Department  of 
History  at  Berkeley  evolved. 

In  initial  discussions  about  the  parameters  of  the  project,  during 
which  the  varied  and  interesting  lives  of  the  history  faculty  were 
considered,  a  crucial  decision  was  made.   Rather  than  conduct  a  larger 
set  of  short  oral  histories  focussed  on  topics  limited  to  departmental 
history,  we  determined  to  work  with  selected  members  of  the  department 
to  conduct  more  lengthy  biographical  memoirs.  We  would  record  relevant 
personal  background—family,  education,  career  choices,  marriage  and 
children,  travel  and  avocations;  discuss  other  institutional 
affiliations;  explore  the  process  of  creating  their  historical  works; 
obtain  reflections  on  their  retirement  years.  A  central  topic  for  each 
would  be,  of  course,  the  Department  of  History  at  Berkeley—its 
governance,  the  informal  and  formal  relationships  among  colleagues,  the 
connections  with  the  broader  campus,  and  curriculum  and  teaching  at  both 
the  graduate  and  undergraduate  level. 

Using  the  Brucker  lecture  as  a  point  of  departure,  it  was  decided 
to  begin  to  document  the  group  of  professors  who  came  to  the  department 
in  the  immediate  postwar  years,  the  1950s,  and  the  early  1960s.   Now 
retired,  the  younger  ones  somewhat  prematurely  because  of  a  university 
retirement  incentive  offer  in  the  early  nineties,  this  group  was  the  one 
whose  distinguished  teaching  and  publications  initially  earned  the 
Department  of  History  its  high  national  rating.   They  made  the  crucial 
hiring  and  promotion  decisions  that  cemented  the  department's  strength 
and  expanded  and  adapted  the  curriculum  to  meet  new  academic  interests. 

At  the  same  time,  they  participated  in  campus  governing  bodies  as 
the  university  dealt  with  central  social,  political,  and  cultural  issues 
of  our  times,  including  challenges  to  civil  liberties  and  academic 
freedom,  the  response  to  tumultous  student  protests  over  free  speech, 
civil  rights  and  the  Vietnam  War,  and  the  demands  for  equality  of 
opportunity  for  women  and  minorities.   And  they  benefitted  from  the 
postwar  years  of  demographic  and  economic  growth  in  California 
accompanied  for  the  most  part  through  the  1980s  with  expanding  budgets 
for  higher  education.   Clearly,  comprehensive  oral  histories  discussing 
the  lives  and  work  of  this  group  of  professors  would  produce  narratives 
of  interest  to  researchers  studying  the  developments  in  the  discipline 
of  history,  higher  education  in  the  modern  research  university,  and 
postwar  California,  as  well  as  the  institutional  history  of  the 
University  of  California. 

Carroll  Brentano  and  Gene  Brucker  committed  themselves  to 
facilitate  the  funding  of  the  oral  history  project,  as  well  as  to  enlist 
the  interest  of  potential  memoirists  in  participating  in  the  process. 
Many  members  of  the  department  responded  with  interest,  joined  the 
periodic  lunch  confabs,  offered  advice  in  planning,  and  helped  find 
funding  to  support  the  project.   In  the  spring  of  1996,  the  interest  of 


the  department  in  its  own  history  led  to  an  afternoon  symposium, 
organized  by  Brentano  and  Professor  of  History  Sheldon  Rothblatt  and 
titled  "Play  It  Again,  Sam."  There,  Gene  Brucker  restaged  his  Faculty 
Research  Lecture.   Professor  Henry  F.  May  responded  with  his  own 
perceptions  of  events,  followed  by  comments  on  the  Brucker  and  May 
theses  from  other  history  faculty,  all  videotaped  for  posterity  and  the 
Bancroft  Library.1 

Meanwhile,  the  oral  history  project  got  underway  with  interviews 
with  Delmer  Brown,  professor  of  Japanese  history;  Nicholas  Riasanovsky, 
Russian  and  European  intellectual  history;  and  Kenneth  Stampp,  American 
history.  A  previously  conducted  oral  history  with  Woodrow  Borah,  Latin 
American  history,  was  uncovered  and  placed  in  The  Bancroft  Library.   An 
oral  history  with  Carl  Schorske,  European  intellectual  history,  is  in 
process  at  the  time  of  this  writing,  and  more  are  in  the  works.   The 
selection  of  memoirists  for  the  project  is  determined  not  only  by  the 
high  regard  in  which  they  are  held  by  their  colleagues,  because  that 
would  surely  overwhelm  us  with  candidates,  but  also  by  their  willingness 
to  commit  the  substantial  amount  of  time  and  thought  to  the  oral  history 
process.   Age,  availability  of  funding,  and  some  attention  to  a  balance 
in  historical  specialties  also  play  a  role  in  the  selection  order. 

The  enthusiastic  response  of  early  readers  has  reaffirmed  for  the 
organizers  of  this  project  that  departmental  histories  and  personal 
memoirs  are  essential  to  the  unraveling  of  some  knotty  puzzles:  What 
kind  of  a  place  is  this  University  of  California,  Berkeley,  to  which  we 
have  committed  much  of  our  lives?   What  is  this  academic  culture  in 
which  we  are  enmeshed?   And  what  is  this  enterprise  History,  in  which  we 
all  engage?  As  one  of  the  project  instigators  reflected,  "Knowing  what 
was  is  essential;  and  as  historians  we  know  the  value  of  sources,  even 
if  they  are  ourselves."   The  beginnings  are  here  in  these  oral 
histories . 

Carroll  Brentano,  Coordinator 

University  History  Project 

Center  for  Studies  in  Higher  Education 

Gene  Brucker 

Shepard  Professor  of  History  Emeritus 

Ann  Lage,  Principal  Editor 
Regional  Oral  History  Office 

'The  Brucker  lecture  and  May  response,  with  an  afterword  by  David 
Hollinger,  are  published  in  History  at  Berkeley:  A  Dialog  in  Three  Parts 
(Chapters  in  the  History  of  the  University  of  California,  Number  Seven), 
Carroll  Brentano  and  Sheldon  Rothblatt,  editors  [Center  for  Studies  in 
Higher  Education  and  Institute  of  Governmental  Studies,  University  of 
California,  Berkeley,  1998]. 


INTRODUCTION  by  John  G.  Sproat 

When  I  was  invited  in  1974  to  become  chair  of  the  Department  of 
History  at  the  University  of  South  Carolina,  Kenneth  Stampp  was  at  once 
astonished,  delighted,  and  skeptical.   A  "Stampp  student"  from 
Yankeeland  recruited  to  a  pivotal  intellectual  position  in  a  bastion  of 
the  Old  South?  Clearly,  something  profound  had  to  be  happening  in  South 
Carolina  for  its  citizens  even  to  consider  such  an  improbable  coupling. 
What  Ken  did  not  as  yet  perhaps  fully  appreciate  was  that  the  "profound 
happening"  in  the  Palmetto  State  and  the  rest  of  the  South  owed  much  to 
his  own  brilliant  scholarship  about  the  region's  history,  race 
relations,  and  social  structure. 

Ken  was  not  the  only  one  astonished  and  skeptical  about  my  new 
position.   Many  of  South  Carolina's  good  citizens  could  not  quite 
believe  that  I  had  developed  my  scholarly  interest  in  their  region  from 
a  Wisconsin-born  Yankee  teaching  at  a  university  perched  in  the  hills 
overlooking  San  Francisco  Bay!   But  the  South  of  1974  was  truly 
undergoing  profound  change,  emerging  at  last  from  its  long  ordeal  of 
legally  mandated  segregation.   Even  such  an  anchorage  of  traditional 
ways  as  South  Carolina  was  giving  way  to  forces  of  modernism  in  race 
relations,  politics,  and  education,  and  the  fact  that  a  "Yankee"  from 
California  should  find  a  congenial  new  home  at  its  state  university  was 
persuasive  evidence  of  the  emergence  of  a  "new  order." 

Underlying  this  remarkable  change  was  the  work  of  a  new  generation 
of  scholars  concerned  with  the  history  and  sociology  of  the  South  and  of 
African  America.   None  of  them  was  more  influential  than  Kenneth  Stampp. 
Indeed,  his  "signature  book"  The  Peculiar  Institution:  Slavery  in  the 
Ante-Bellum  South  quickly  became  a  latter-day  supplement  to  Gunnar 
Myrdal's  An  American  Dilemma  as  an  intellectual  trigger  for  one  of  the 
most  momentous  social  revolutions  in  American  history.  Within  a  few 
years  of  its  appearance,  the  book  became  the  generally  accepted  account 
of  slavery,  and  the  paperback  edition  found  its  way  into  classrooms 
throughout  the  nation,  even  the  Deep  South.   Its  success  derived  in 
great  part  from  its  literary  craftsmanship:  it  was  history  written  in 
clear,  crisp  prose,  restrained  in  tone  on  matters  of  emotional 
controversy,  imaginative  and  energetic  in  its  challenges  to  conventional 
wisdom.   But  it  was  also  in  complete  accord  with  the  changing  temper  of 
the  times  in  questions  of  race  and  civil  rights,  and  it  is  fair  to  say 
that  it  helped  immensely  to  change  the  racial  perceptions  of  a 
generation  of  young  Americans.   Together  with  his  next  work,  The  Era  of 
Reconstruction,  it  also  contributed  to  a  new  and  more  rational 
perspective  among  opinion  makers  and  general  readers  about  the  whole 
nature  and  legacy  of  the  mid-nineteenth  century  sectional  conflict.   Not 
ordinarily  given  to  publicizing  the  work  of  professional  historians, 
Time  magazine  accorded  the  latter  work  an  extended  review  article,  in 

effect  acknowledging  that  historians  like  Stampp  had  much  to  tell  the 
American  people  about  why  they  were  just  then  in  the  midst  of  a  civil 
rights  revolution. 

Ken  Stampp 's  major  works  on  the  sectional  conflict  also  heralded 
the  emergence  of  the  University  of  California  as  a  major  center  for  the 
study  of  southern  history  and  a  "threshold  institution"  for  examining 
the  roles  of  race  and  ethnicity  in  American  life.   For  many  aspiring 
young  historians,  Berkeley  and  Kenneth  Stampp  became  synonymous,  and  his 
graduate  courses  and  seminars  on  the  Civil  War,  Reconstruction,  and  The 
New  Nation  over  the  ensuing  three  decades  attracted  acolytes  from 
throughout  the  country.  While  many  of  them  went  on  from  their  years  at 
Berkeley  to  become  accomplished  scholar-teachers  in  their  own  right, 
they  all  still  pride  themselves  on  being  "Stampp  students."  Yet,  like 
the  mentor  who  trained  them,  they  are  too  independent  themselves  to  ever 
comprise  a  distinctive  "Stampp  school"  of  history.   It  is  enough  that 
they  follow  his  lead  in  investigating  controversial  topics  with  a 
scholarship  that  is  at  once  disciplined  and  imaginative  and  that  shares 
his  regard  for  high  standards. 

For  the  vast  majority  of  Berkeley  students  whose  lives  Ken  Stampp 
touched,  of  course,  it  is  as  a  teacher  of  American  history  that  he  is 
best  remembered.   And  with  good  reason:  I  have  never  known  a  teacher 
whose  classroom  presentations  were  more  beautifully  organized  and 
controlled,  more  literate  and  logical,  more  eloquently  understated,  and 
more  appealing  to  the  common  sense  of  students.  Whether  lecturing 
before  hundreds  of  restless  academic  novices  in  cavernous  Wheeler 
Auditorium  or  to  upper-division  students  in  his  courses  on  sectional 
conflict,  or  supervising  a  dozen  separate  scholarly  inquiries  in 
seminar,  his  "presence"  uniformly  reflected  a  deep  respect  for  the 
discipline  of  history  and  a  delight  in  teaching. 

Beyond  his  own  scholarship  and  training  of  students  at  the 
university,  Ken  played  a  more  prosaic  yet  central  role  in  building  the 
Department  of  History  into  one  of  the  very  finest  in  the  nation.   By  his 
own  role  model  and  skill  at  identifying  excellence  in  others,  he  helped 
the  department  attract  promising  young  scholar-teachers  to  its  ranks, 
then  offered  his  good  advice  and  assistance  in  their  development  into 
skilled  practitioners  of  their  art.  Never  a  department  chair,  he  was 
nonetheless  an  indispensable  stalwart  among  his  colleagues. 

But  there  are  other  Kenneth  Stampps,  as  well:  the  one  who  loves 
opera  to  the  point,  I  believe,  that  he  could  sit  through  three 
consecutive  performances  of  "The  Ring"  and  yet  ask  for  more;  the  one  who 
relishes  fine  wines  and  had  the  prescience,  years  ago,  to  lay  in  a  good 
stock  of  Chateau  Petrus  before  the  price  went  off  the  boards;  the  one 
who  appreciates  an  evening  of  exceptional  food  and  good  company,  whether 
at  home  or  in  an  elegant  restaurant;  the  traveler  who  enjoys  long  walks 
along  Alpine  paths  or  in  any  countryside.   He  has  had  his  share  of 


life's  difficulties  and  sadnesses,  to  be  sure;  yet  he  weathers  adversity 
with  reasonable  tolerance  and,  as  in  his  professional  work,  there  is 
always  about  him  a  sense  of  solid  and  reassuring  predictability. 

In  the  long  and  intimate  association  of  Kenneth  Stampp  and 
Berkeley  there  is  a  certain  gentle  irony,  for  he  did  not  really  want  to 
come  to  the  university  when  it  offered  him  an  instructorship  in  1946. 
On  the  faculty  of  the  University  of  Maryland  at  the  time,  he  had  ready 
access  to  the  archival  and  library  resources  of  the  nation's  capital,  a 
"fringe  benefit"  of  immense  value  to  an  aspiring  young  American 
historian.  Moreover,  he  knew  nothing  about  California  and  had  even  to 
consult  an  atlas  to  learn  just  where  Berkeley  was.  After  prolonged 
negotiations,  Berkeley  finally  "upped"  the  proffered  rank  to  assistant 
professor  and  Ken  said  yes,  although  still  with  some  reluctance. 
Convinced  that  he  would  not  stay  long,  he  moved  west—and  promptly  fell 
in  love  with  the  Bay  Area  and  his  new  university.   Happily,  the 
felicitous  mutual  attraction  continues  to  this  day. 

John  G.  Sproat 

Professor  Emeritus  of  History 

University  of  South  Carolina 

September  1,  1997 
Columbia,  South  Carolina 


INTERVIEW  HISTORY- -Kenneth  M.  Stampp 

Kenneth  M.  Stampp,  professor  emeritus  of  American  history  at 
Berkeley,  was  a  logical  choice  for  inclusion  in  the  new  series  of  oral 
histories  on  the  Department  of  History  at  Berkeley.   He  joined  the 
department  in  1946,  when  Berkeley  was  a  quiet  and  somewhat  provincial 
town  and  campus,  and  the  department's  faculty  in  American  history  was 
still  dominated  by  a  Herbert  Bolton/History  of  the  Americas  orientation. 
For  the  next  thirty-seven  years,  he  participated  in  or  observed  all  of 
the  events  and  transformations  in  the  department  and  on  the  campus  that 
this  series  has  proposed  to  document.   In  addition,  he  is  a  masterful 
historian  of  slavery,  the  Civil  War,  and  Reconstruction,  who  has  written 
widely  influential  books  and  whose  writing  and  teaching  still  inspire 
his  successors  in  the  department,  and  their  students  in  turn. 

When  his  colleagues  proposed  the  idea  of  undertaking  an  oral 
history,  in  the  fall  of  1995,  Professor  Stampp  was  receptive.   Meeting 
at  lunch  at  the  Faculty  Club  with  project  advisors  Carroll  Brentano, 
Gene  Brucker,  and  Irv  Scheiner,  and  his  prospective  interviewer,  he 
expressed  some  skepticism  about  the  enterprise,  having  learned  from 
research  in  the  Federal  Writers'  Project  slave  narratives  how  unreliable 
the  memory  of  distant  events  could  be.  We  assured  him  that  the 
transcribed  oral  history  would  be  presented  with  the  caveat  that  it 
provided  a  personal  perspective,  not  the  final,  verified  record  of 
events.   We  were  hoping,  through  this  series,  to  enable  future  scholars 
to  assemble  from  many  parts  and  varying  perspectives,  in  concert  with 
written  documents,  some  sense  of  the  life  of  the  university  and  the 
discipline  of  history. 

A  starting  point  for  my  research  in  preparing  for  the  interviews 
was  the  essay  by  former  student  John  Sproat  on  Stampp  in  Twentieth- 
Century  American  Historians.1  Leon  Litwack,  another  former  student,  now 
his  successor  as  Morrison  Professor  of  History  at  Berkeley,  spoke  with 
me  about  Stampp "s  intellectual  roots,  his  work  as  a  teacher  and  scholar, 
and  his  commitment  to  civil  liberties,  civil  rights,  and  academic 
freedom  issues.   Project  advisors  helped  clarify  his  role  in 
departmental  affairs,  which  was  considerable  even  though  he  never  served 
as  department  chair.   (He  was  acting  chair  in  1959-1960.)  And,  of 
course,  his  major  works  and  journal  articles  were  ready  sources  of 
themes  for  the  oral  history. 

Shortly  before  the  interviewing  was  scheduled  to  begin,  Ken 
Starapp's  beloved  wife,  Isabel,  died,  on  March  8,  1996.   It  was  a 

'Vol.  17,  Dictionary  of  Literary  Biography,  Clyde  N.  Wilson,  ed. 
[Bruccoli-Clark/Gale  Research  Company,  1983). 


difficult  time  for  him,  but  he  wanted  to  go  on  with  the  project;  perhaps 
this  retrospective  look  at  his  life  and  work  was  timely.   Interviewing 
began  on  April  4,  1996,  in  the  study  of  his  home  in  the  Berkeley  hills, 
our  mutual  efforts  closely  watched  by  his  curious  poodle  and  the  bust  of 
Abraham  Lincoln  (given  to  Stampp  as  a  winner  of  the  Lincoln  Prize  in 
1993).  We  met  every  week  or  two  until  June  A,  then  again  on  July  9, 
1996,  for  a  total  of  eighteen  recorded  hours.   The  following  year,  on 
January  21,  1997,  we  met  again  to  recoup  the  material  lost  when  my  tape 
recorder  malfunctioned  during  an  early  session. 

The  transcripts  of  the  recorded  sessions  were  lightly  edited  by 
Regional  Oral  History  Office  editorial  assistant  Mary  Mead  and  sent  to 
Professor  Stampp  for  his  review.   He  clarified  inaudible  passages  and 
unclear  references  and  removed  a  few  remarks  that  he  considered  too 
personal  or  too  strongly  worded.   For  a  writer  widely  admired  for  his 
literary  craftsmanship,  he  was  admirably  restrained  about  "cleaning  up" 
the  conversational  language  of  the  interview  situation.   As  a  careful 
historian,  he  reiterated  that  he  had  not  checked  the  facts  against 
written  records;  this  account  is  based  solely  on  his  best  recollection 
of  events. 

Kenneth  Stampp  has  written  and  reflected  on  how  the  life  and  times 
of  a  historian  influences  his  work.   In  a  1983  lecture,  "Interpreting 
History,"  he  notes  that  historical  interpretation  is  derived  from  the 
fragmentary  evidence,  and  also  "from  the  various  subjective  influences 
to  which  every  historian  is  exposed.  .  .[It  is]  derived  as  well  from  the 
circumstances  and  experiences  of  his  own  life,  for  they  help  to 
determine  the  way  in  which  he  will  view  the  past  and  what  meaning  it 
will  have  for  him.   It  may  be  true  that  understanding  the  past  helps  us 
to  understand  the  present,  but  I  believe  that  it  is  also  true  that  the 
time  in  which  a  historian  lives  conditions  his  understanding  of  the 
past."1  Here  in  his  oral  history  is  a  much  fuller,  if  less  formal, 
account  than  he  was  able  to  give  in  that  lecture  of  the  circumstances  of 
his  own  life  and  his  response  to  the  historical  events  of  his  times. 
The  personal  and  historical  context  coupled  with  discussions  of  his 
major  historical  works--how  he  came  to  choose  his  topics,  the  research 
and  writing  process,  the  critical  response,  and  his  retrospective 
thoughts --make  this  volume  a  wonderful  resource  for  understanding  the 
work  of  the  historian. 

It  is  also  a  rich  resource  for  scholars  in  many  other  respects. 
Despite  his  misgivings  about  the  accuracy  of  oral  accounts,  Ken  Stampp 
recalls  very  well  key  decisions  and  the  personal  and  political 

1  The  7th  Annual  0.  Meredith  Wilson  Lecture  in  History,  delivered 
at  the  University  of  Utah,  March  30,  1983  [published  by  the  Department 
of  History,  University  of  Utah,  Salt  Lake  City,  Utah].   A  copy  of 
"Interpreting  History"  was  given  to  The  Bancroft  Library  by  Ken  Stampp. 


interactions  that  shaped  the  Berkeley  history  department  during  his 
years  here.   His  account  gives  additional  documentation  of  the  loyalty 
oath  controversy,  1949-1952;  efforts  to  open  the  campus  to  political 
speakers  of  every  persuasion  in  the  fifties  and  sixties;  and  faculty 
reactions  to  the  Free  Speech  Movement,  1964-1965,  and  the  subsequent 
decade  of  student  unrest. 

He  gives  similarly  insightful  accounts  of  his  years  as  a  student 
at  the  University  of  Wisconsin  in  the  1930s,  his  brief  appointment  at 
the  University  of  Arkansas  in  1941-1942,  and  teaching  and  research  at 
the  University  of  Maryland  during  World  War  II,  where  his  colleagues  and 
close  friends  included  historian  Richard  Hofstadter  and  sociologist  C. 
Wright  Mills.   He  also  describes  his  experiences  as  Harmsworth  Professor 
at  Oxford  University  in  1961-1962,  where  he  met  and  married  Isabel. 

The  Regional  Oral  History  Office,  on  behalf  of  future  scholars, 
would  like  to  thank  Leon  F.  Litwack  for  making  this  oral  history 
possible  with  support  from  his  Morrison  chair  research  funds.  We  also 
thank  John  Sproat  for  his  elegant  introduction.   Thanks  are  again  due 
Carroll  Brentano  and  Gene  Brucker  for  having  the  inspiration  for  this 
series  on  the  history  of  the  Department  of  History  and  for  their 
persistent  efforts  to  make  it  a  reality.   The  greatest  thanks,  of 
course,  are  to  Professor  Stampp,  for  his  willingess  to  devote  the  time 
and  thought  to  recording  his  oral  history. 

The  Regional  Oral  History  Office  was  established  in  1954  to  record 
the  lives  of  persons  who  have  contributed  significantly  to  the  history 
of  California  and  the  West.   A  major  focus  of  the  office  since  its 
inception  has  been  university  history.   The  series  list  of  completed 
oral  histories  documenting  the  history  of  the  University  of  California 
is  included  in  this  volume.   The  Regional  Oral  History  Office  is  a 
division  of  The  Bancroft  Library  and  is  under  the  direction  of  Willa  K. 

Ann  Lage 
Interviewer /Editor 

Berkeley,  California 
January  1998 

Regional  Oral  History  Office  University  of  California 

Room  486  The  Bancroft  Library  Berkeley,  California  94720 

(Please  write  clearly.   Use  black  ink.) 

Your  full  name  Kenneth  M.  Stampp 

Date  of  birth  July  12,  1912 Birthplace   Milwaukee.  Wisconsin 

Father's  full  name   Oscar  M.  Stampp 

Occupation Chiropractor Birthplace  Milwaukee 

Mother's  full  name    Eleanor  v.  Schmidt 

Occupation    Mother,  housewife Birthplace   Milvqukee 

Your  spouse     Isabel  M.  Stampp  (deceased) 

Wife,  mother,  medical  social 
Occupation   worker,  critic,  etc. Birthplace   Malton.  England 

Your  children   Kenneth  Mitchell,  Sara  Kat-hprinp,  Jennifer  Elizabeth,  Michale  Susan 
Where  did  you  grow  up?   Milwaukee 

Present  community   Berkeley,  California 

Education B.A. ,  M.A.  Ph.D.  University  of  Wisconsin,  Madison 

Occupations )   Professor  emeritus 

Areas  of  expertise    Nineteenth-rcentury  American  history. 

Other  interests  or  activities    Efedine.  travel,  music 

Organizations  in  which  you  are  active   Various  historical 

[Interview  1:  April  4,  1996]  II1 

Family  and  Early  Childhood  in  Milwaukee 

Lage:    Today  is  April  4,  1996,  and  this  is  the  first  session  of  an  oral 
history  with  Kenneth  Stampp.  We're  going  to  start  with  some 
personal  background  because  we  all  recognize  how  our  personal 
background  affects  our  lives  and  our  work. 

Stampp:   Yes,  indeed. 

Lage:    I  want  you  to  tell  me  about  the  setting  in  which  you  grew  up  and 
about  your  family.   Shall  we  just  start  in  a  general  way  like 

Stampp:   I  was  born  in  Milwaukee  [Wisconsin],  1912.   I  was  born  in  an 
overwhelmingly  German  neighborhood  where,  as  a  small  child,  I 
think  I  heard  as  much  German  spoken  on  the  streets  as  English. 

Lage:    That  was  your  own  family's  background  as  well? 

Stampp:   In  my  own  family,  my  paternal  grandfather  [William]  came  from 
north  Germany  as  a  young  man  about  1850.   He  came  with  his 
brother,  and  settled  in  Milwaukee.   His  brother  went  to  Texas  and 
spawned  quite  a  number  of  Stampps  around  Waco,  and  now  they're  in 
Houston  and  San  Antonio.  My  father's  father  came  as  a  tailor  and 
set  up  a  tailor  shop.   He  married  a  German  woman.   Both  of  them 
died  when  my  father  [Oscar]  was  very  young.   I  think  he  was  five 
when  his  mother  died  and  seven  when  his  father  died.   He  had,  as  I 
recall,  six  siblings.   He  was  the  youngest  of  seven.   He  grew  up 
in  a  Methodist  orphanage  in  Ohio;  that  is,  he  spent  the  next  seven 
years  in  an  orphanage,  and  then  came  back  and  lived  in  Milwaukee. 

lii  This  symbol  indicates  that  a  tape  or  tape  segment  has  begun  or 
ended.   A  guide  to  the  tapes  follows  the  transcript. 

I  don't  know  much  about  my  paternal  grandfather's  wife  except 
that  I  know  she  was  German.  Her  name  was  Protzman,  and  it 
couldn't  be  anything  but  German. 

After  my  father  left  the  orphanage,  he  lived  with  his  sister, 
named  Selma.   She's  a  very  important  figure  in  my  life,  as  I'll 
tell  you  later.   He  started  as  a  draftsman,  worked  in  an 
architect's  office.   Then  he  became  a  salesman  selling  some  kind 
of  lamp  which  led  to  his  traveling  pretty  much  in  the  East—New 
Jersey,  Pennsylvania,  West  Virginia.  Then,  ultimately,  he  came 
back  to  Milwaukee  and  got  a  job  in  the  United  States  Post  Office 
as  a  postal  employee. 

Lage:    When  would  that  have  been? 

Stampp:   Well,  he  was  working  at  the  post  office  when  he  met  my  mother,  so 
by  1910,  maybe  before  that,  he  was  working  in  the  post  office. 

On  my  maternal  side,  my  maternal  grandfather  [Henry  William 
Schmidt]  also  came  from  north  Germany,  and  my  maternal  grandmother 
[Annie  Stoll]  came  from  Switzerland  from  a  little  town  called 
Stein-on-Rhine,  which  is  just  across  the  Rhine  River  from  Germany. 

Lage:    Was  this  in  the  German  area? 

Stampp:   It's  the  German  section  of  Switzerland,  yes.   It's  a  beautiful 

village.  My  wife  and  I  visited  it  some  years  ago  and  wondered  why 

they  would  ever  leave  such  a  beautiful,  charming  place,  but  I 
presume  the  motives  were  economic. 

Lage:    Were  there  family  stories  about  why  people  came? 

Stampp:   I  have  no  idea. 

Lage:    Your  father  probably  didn't  know. 

Stampp:   I  don't  know,  but  you  know,  as  a  child,  one  is  less  curious  about 
these  things.  Then  when  I  got  curious  about  it,  it  was  too  late. 
Anyway,  I  have  no  idea  why  the  two  brothers--my  father's  father 
and  uncle—came,  but  I  have  my  suspicion.  He  came  in  1850.   That 
was  right  after  the  Revolution  of  1848,  and  whether  they  were 
involved  in  it  or  not,  I  don't  know,  but  my  hunch  is  that  they 
came  to  escape  the  draft,  the  Prussian  draft,  because  they  came 
out  of  Prussia. 

There  is  an  interesting  thing  about  both  sides  of  this 
family:   they  were  all  Germans  and  not  a  single  Lutheran  or 
Catholic  in  the  lot.   On  both  sides  they  were  German  Evangelicals. 
My  maternal  grandmother  was  born  in  a  little  town  outside  of 

Milwaukee.  My  understanding  is  that  my  grandfather  was  brought 
here  as  a  baby.   That  I'm  not  sure  about. 

In  any  case,  my  father's  family,  being  Evangelicals,  joined  a 
German  Methodist  church  in  Milwaukee,  and  my  mother's  parents 
joined  a  German  Baptist  church  in  Milwaukee.   [laughs]   When  my 
father  and  mother  [Eleanor]  met,  the  great  issue  in  the  marriage 
was  which  church  they  would  agree  on.  They  would  have  to  belong 
to  the  same  church,  but  the  big  issue  was  baptism. 

Lage:    So  this  was  something  that  was  quite  important  to  them. 

Stampp:   It  was  very  important  to  them.   The  Methodists  believe  in  infant 
baptism,  and  the  Baptists  don't  believe  in  infant  baptism,  and 
they  also  believe  in  dunking  you  rather  than  just  sprinkling  you. 
So  the  great  compromise  was  this:  my  mother  would  leave  the 
Baptist  church  and  join  my  father's  Methodist  church,  but  there 
would  be  no  infant  baptism.   The  children  would  be  baptized  at  the 
age  of  twelve.   So  I  remember  an  embarrassing  Sunday  morning  when 
I  had  to  march  up  to  the  altar  with  mothers  and  fathers  with  babes 
in  arms  to  be  baptized. 

Lage:     Just  a  regular  baptism?   You  weren't  dunked? 

Stampp:   No,  no. 

Lage:     That  was  the  compromise. 

Stampp:   No,  they  were  in  the  Methodist  church  as  a  compromise.   I  was 
sprinkled  rather  than  dunked,  and  it  was  at  the  age  of  twelve. 

Lage:    Well,  that  would  say  something  also  about  your  parents'  ability  to 
compromise . 

Stampp:   Yes.   There  were  some  things  they  found  harder  to  compromise  on, 
but  they  could  compromise  on  that. 

Now,  I  must  tell  you  about  my  grandparents  on  my  mother's 
side  because  they're  the  ones  I  knew.   I  don't  know  much  about  my 
father's  parents  since  they  died  early,  except  that  I  know  that  my 
father's  father  was  a  very  strict  disciplinarian,  very  strict, 
from  everything  I've  heard—a  real  German  master  of  the  house. 

My  mother's  parents  were  devout  Baptists,  quite 
fundamentalist,  and  they  were  Sabbatarians.   You  didn't  spend 
money  on  Sundays.   You  went  to  church  twice  on  Sundays.   There  was 
no  drinking,  no  smoking,  no  card-playing,  no  dancing.   She  used  to 
call  playing  cards  "devil  cards." 







These  were  all  things  that  you  were  exposed  to. 

My  mother  grew  up  in  this,  and  my  father  was  a  bit  less  strict 
about  these  things,  but  it  had  an  impact  on  me.   One  of  my 
mother's  uncles,  her  mother's  brother,  was  a  Free  Methodist 
minister,  and  he  ran  a  Free  Methodist  college  in  McPherson, 
Kansas.   Free  Methodists--all  the  things  I've  told  you  were  true 
of  all  of  them. 

Of  the  Free  Methodists  as  well  as  the  Baptists? 

Well,  the  Free  Methodists  broke  away  from  the  Methodist  church 
back  in  the  early  nineteenth  century,  on  issues  that  related  to 
slavery,  and  the  Free  Methodists  were  more  antislavery  than  the 
Methodists.   They  were  very,  very  strict  on  these  personal  habits. 
In  addition  to  that,  in  the  Free  Methodist  church,  you  can't  have 
pictures,  you  can't  have  statues,  you  can't  even  have  a  piano. 
The  minister  will  have  a  little  pipe  and  he'll  give  them  the  tune, 
and  they'll  start  singing. 

I  was  taken  to  some  of  these  Free  Methodist  church  services 
as  a  child  and  even  to  something  that  sounds  very  nineteenth 
century:  a  revival  meeting,  a  tent  meeting.   I  was  exposed  to  a 
lot  of  this  preaching. 

Was  this  more  characteristic  of  German  culture? 
Midwestern,  I  think. 

It  sounds 

This  neighborhood  was  largely  a  German  Protestant  neighborhood.   I 
think  probably  most  of  them  were  Lutherans,  but  a  good  number  of 
them  went  to  my  grandmother's  and  grandfather's  German  Baptist 
church.  My  grandfather  was  a  rather  big  figure  in  the  church.   He 
was  a  grocer.   He  ran  a  very  successful  grocery  store,  so  he 
always  provided  the  grape  juice—naturally  grape  juice—and  bread 
for  the  communion  service. 

This  was  the  background  that  my  mother  came  out  of  and 
carried  into  her  marriage.  When  I  was  young,  I  was  churched  a 
great  deal  and  sometimes  would  go  to  my  grandmother's  German 
Baptist  church  in  the  evening  and  listen  to—well,  at  least  hear 
sermons  preached  in  German,  which  I  didn't  understand. 

You  didn't  pick  up  the  language? 

My  grandmother  and  grandfather  always  spoke  German  to  each  other. 
My  grandfather  spoke  English  fluently,  my  grandmother  somewhat 
less  fluently.   My  mother  and  her  sisters  always  spoke  German  to 
their  mother,  my  grandmother.  My  mother  used  to  talk  to  her  on 
the  telephone  almost  every  day,  always  in  German.   My  father  and 

mother  were  fluent  in  German,  but  you  know,  people  didn't  teach 
their  children  languages.   I'll  tell  you  one  reason:  these  were 
lower  middle  class  people.  They  had  come  to  America,  and  they  had 
no  intention  of  ever  going  back  to  Germany  or  to  Europe,  and  no 
thought  that  their  children  would  ever  go  to  Europe.   I  mean,  it 
was  expensive  to  go  to  Europe,  so  they  saw  no  particular  reason. 
My  parents  spoke  German  as  their  secret  language  when  they  wanted 
to  discuss  things  that  my  sister  and  I  were  not  supposed  to 
understand,  so  our  game  was  trying  to  break  the  code,  and  whatever 
German  we  learned  was  simply  by  trying  to  find  out  what  they  were 

There  were  a  few  little  things:  we  had  a  little  prayer  that 
we  said  before  meals  in  German,  and  my  father  used  to  sing  songs 
in  German  to  me  and  my  sister  and  explained  what  they  were.  My 
father  taught  me  the  alphabet  in  German,  little  things  like  that, 
but  as  far  as  real  communication,  no.   I  didn't  ever  learn  German. 

Backing  Away  from  Religious  Tradition 




Let's  go  back  to  my  mother  and  her  fundamentalism.   It  really  did 
have  quite  an  impact  on  me  when  I  was  a  child.   I  remember  at  the 
age  of  about  ten,  eleven,  or  twelve  becoming  extremely  religious 
and  reading  the  Bible—almost  as  if  I  had  one  of  those  religious 
experiences.   It  didn't  last  long,  but  for  a  couple  of  years  it 
was  important. 

To  my  mother  it  was  okay  to  go  to  movies  but  not  on  Sundays. 
It  was  okay  to  go  to  school  dances. 

Oh,  so  she  loosened  up  a  bit. 

She  loosened  up  that  much,  but  my  parents  were  both  strict 
teetotallers.   There  was  no  alcohol  in  our  house.   They  strongly 
supported  the  Prohibition  amendment,  the  Eighteenth  Amendment.  We 
had  no  Sunday  newspaper.  What  else?  Those  were  the  main  things. 
It  was  okay  to  go  to  movies.   However,  they  had  to  be  what  my 
mother  would  call  "wholesome"  movies.  There  were  a  lot  of  movies 
she  didn't  think  were  wholesome. 

Did  she  require  church  attendance? 

Oh,  yes.   I  was  sent  off  to  Sunday  school  and  sat  through  sermons 
in  the  Methodist  church.   I  remember  them  well.   I  never  listened; 
they  bored  me  to  death. 

Lage:    Except  for  that  short  period  that  you  mentioned. 

Stampp:   Except  for  that  very  short  period,  but  even  then  the  sermons  were 
something  that  I  found  tedious.   I  can  remember  sitting  in  the 
church  service.  A  Methodist  minister,  at  least  in  my  day,  had  a 
cadence  in  his  sermons.   He  would  begin  quietly,  and  it  would  get 
louder  and  louder  and  more  dramatic  and  more  dramatic.   Then  I 
always  knew  when  the  climax  came,  and  that  was  great  because  I 
knew  that  five  minutes  later  it  would  be  over.   [laughter] 

Lage:    You  were  seeing  it  as  a  theatrical  performance. 

Stampp:  Absolutely.   I  did  go  to  Sunday  school,  and  many  of  my  friends  in 
elementary  school  days  and  high  school  days  came  out  of  the 
Methodist  church  that  I  went  to,  Kingsley  Methodist  Episcopal 
Church . 

When  I  was  fifteen,  1  had  a  very  good  Sunday  school  teacher. 
This  was  a  class  of  friends  of  mine,  and  there  must  have  been 
about  a  dozen  of  us.   This  rather  liberal  Christian  Sunday  school 
teacher  must  have  thought- -his  name  was  Davis,  I  remember- -he  must 
have  thought  that  these  young  men  were  very  soon  going  to  begin  to 
be  skeptical  about  the  Bible,  biblical  passages,  and  so  on.   In 
anticipation  of  this,  he  offered  a  sort  of  liberal  interpretation 
of  the  Bible:  in  effect,  you  don't  have  to  believe  all  the  stories 
in  the  Old  Testament.   These  have  some  symbolic  significance. 
There  are  even  things  in  the  New  Testament- -you  can  be  a  good 
Christian  without  believing  in  the  Trinity,  possibly  Christ 
turning  stones  into  bread. 

Lage:    Was  that  radical  in  that  setting? 

Stampp:  Well,  it  was  something  that  I  had  never  heard  before.   This  was 

something  that  really  shook  me.   I  began  to  think,  and  I  began  to 
become  skeptical  about  one  thing  after  another,  and  I  never  knew 
where  to  stop.   The  result  was  that  in  a  year  or  two,  by  the  time 
I  was  seventeen,  I  was  a  flaming  atheist.   I  shouldn't  say 
flaming,  because  I  never  discussed  religion  with  my  parents. 

Lage:    Yes,  this  is  what  I  wondered:  who  did  you  talk  to  about  this? 

Stampp:   I  tried  once  with  my  father,  and  I  got  nowhere,  so  I  stopped. 

Actually,  I  discussed  religion  very  seldom  with  anybody.   This  I 
thought  reflected  a  certain  sensitivity  on  my  part.   I  knew  that 
religion  is  a  very  personal  thing,  and  the  last  thing  I  would  have 
ever  wanted  to  do  is  to  challenge  some  devout  Christian. 

Religion  was  something  1  could  no  longer  accept.   It  took  me 
a  long  time  to  gradually  change  from  a  total  atheist  to  an 







agnostic,  which  seemed  to  me  a  more  logical  intellectual  position 
to  take.   I  think  emotionally  I  was  an  atheist,  but  when  I  had  to 
express  my  position  I  would  say,  "I'm  an  agnostic."  I  really  have 
never  changed  from  that.   I  haven't  gone  to  church  for  years. 

That's  a  big  change  from  what  seemed  almost  a  focus  on  religion. 

Yes.   Little  by  little,  I  broke  some  of  the  other  barriers.   Let 
me  think.   I  guess  the  first  one  I  broke  was--I  remember  a  friend 
of  mine  trying  to  persuade  me  to  go  to  a  movie  on  Sunday 
afternoon,  and  I  remember  standing  in  front  of  the  movie  house 
having  a  terrible  battle  inside  of  me.   I  finally  couldn't  do  it. 
I  just  said,  "No,  I  can't." 

Now,  was  this  when  you  had  started  to  question  things,  or  earlier? 

No,  I  was  ten  or  eleven  years  old  at  that  point.   That's  when  I 
had  those  battles. 

I  remember  a  terrible  day.   I  was  a  fanatical  lover  of 
baseball  when  I  was  a  kid.   1  used  to  follow  a  minor  league  team 
in  Milwaukee,  the  Milwaukee  Brewers.   I  would  get  to  the  baseball 
game  any  time  I  had  a  chance.   I  remember  finally  I  went  one 
Sunday.   I  had  another  battle,  but  this  time  baseball  won,  and  I 
went.   My  mother  of  course  found  out  that  I  had  gone,  and  that 
afternoon  I  found  her  in  tears  because  I  had  gone  to  a  baseball 
game  on  Sunday.   The  clincher  was  that  she  said,  "And  it's 
Mother's  Day."   [laughter] 

Oh,  dear!   These  are  things  that  we  remember  after  all  these 
years . 

It  was  with  me  for  a  long  time,  but  that  sort  of  broke  it.   I  had 
no  problem  going  to  school  dances;  that  was  okay  with  them. 

I'm  surprised  that  was  all  right. 

That  was  okay,  and  my  parents  didn't  object  to  card-playing.   They 
used  to  play  a  game  called  Five  Hundred.   It  was  a  little  simpler 
than  bridge,  I  think. 

But  not  on  Sunday? 

I  don't  know.   I  don't  know  the  answer  to  that.   I  can't  remember 
whether  they  ever  played  cards  on  Sunday. 

I  never  had  any  alcohol.   When  I  was  twelve  years  old,  I 
signed  a  pledge  in  the  church  never  to  drink  alcohol.   I  spent  my 
first  two  years  —  and  we'll  get  to  this  later—in  Milwaukee  State 






Teachers  College  when  I  was  eighteen  and  nineteen.   I  had  a  very 
good  friend  at  that  time,  we  used  to  double  date.   By  this  time-- 
this  is  the  early  1930s--Prohibition  may  have  been  in  force 
somewhere  in  the  United  States,  but  certainly  not  in  Milwaukee. 
You  could  walk  into  any  saloon  in  Milwaukee,  with  Prohibition  or 
without  it,  and  order  a  whiskey  or  whatever.   I  used  to  go  with  my 
date,  and  my  friend  and  his  date,  and  they  would  have  a  highball, 
and  I  would  have  nothing.   I  would  have  ginger  ale  or  something 
like  that. 

I  didn't  smoke.   I  can  remember  in  my--I  was  twenty,  so  it 
must  have  been  my  sophomore  year  in  college  at  Milwaukee  State 
Teachers  College.   I  can't  tell  you  why  except  that  I  know  I  was 
in  some  way  defying  my  father.   I  went  to  a  drugstore  and  bought  a 
packet  of  cigarettes  and  walked  to  Lake  Park,  very  near  the 
college.   I  walked  into  this  park,  sat  on  a  bench,  took  a 
cigarette,  lit  it,  smoked  it,  and  hated  it. 

Of  course!   [laughs] 

I  was  saying,  "By  golly,  I'm  my  own  man  now." 

[laughter]   Now,  are  you  thinking  this  in  retrospect,  or  was  this 
really  what  you  were  thinking? 

Oh,  no.   I  can  remember  taking  puffs  of  that  cigarette  and  saying 
this.   It  was  in  defiance  of  my  father.  My  recollection  isn't 
very  strong  of  why  I  felt  I  needed  to  at  that  point.   I  probably 
had  some  row  with  him  about  something,  so  I  was  smoking.   I  never 
told  him  that  I  had  become  a  smoker. 

You  did  start  smoking? 

I  did  start  smoking  then.   I  never  was  a  very  heavy  smoker,  but  I 
did  start  smoking.   I  remember  coming  home  one  evening  maybe  a 
year  or  two  later,  and  my  mother  smelled  cigarette  smoke  on  my 
gloves,  so  more  crying,  more  tears.   [laughs]   Really,  the  reason 
I  never  told  them  is  that  I  just  didn't  want  to  go  through  one  of 
these  crises.   I  hated  to  see  my  mother  weep. 

Now,  the  same  thing  happened  with  alcohol.   One  night  in  the 
same  saloon--we  always  seemed  to  go  to  this  same  saloon—there 
were  little  tables  where  we  could  sit  and  chat.   I  finally 
couldn't  take  it  any  more,  and  I  can  remember  that  my  first  drink 
was  a  gin  buck,  a  horrible  drink;  it's  gin,  and  the  kind  of  gin 
you  got  in  those  days  was  pretty  awful.   It's  sweet  soda,  kind  of 
a  sickening  drink,  as  I  think  about  it.   From  then  on,  if  I  felt 
like  having  a  drink  with  a  group,  I  did. 

Lage:    It  didn't  leave  residue  of  guilt,  it  sounds,  once  your  parents 

Stampp:   [hesitantly]  No.   It  was  a  long  time  before  I  ever  told  my  parents 
that  I--in  fact,  I  never  told  my  parents  that  I  had  liquor.   This 
is  getting  way  later  on.  My  sister  eventually  married  a  Norwegian 
who  came  to  America  when  he  was  thirteen,  and  he  was  a  very 
charming  man,  and  he  charmed  my  parents  out  of  some  of  their 
ideas.   He  even  persuaded  them  finally  to  have  an  after-dinner 
liqueur,  or  maybe  it  was  a  before-dinner  liqueur,  an  Alexander, 
which  is  chocolate  liqueur  and  cream  on  the  top.   So  before  my 
parents  died,  I  saw  them  having  a  little  sherry  before  dinner  and 
even  a  little  bit  of  wine. 

Lage:    Was  your  sister  older  or  younger? 

Stampp:   I  was  the  oldest  of  three.  My  sister  was  three  years  younger  than 
me,  and  I  had  a  brother  who  was  eleven  years  younger  than  me,  who 
died  just  a  year  ago  last  December. 

Lage:    Did  this  religious  strictness  carry  over  into  a  highly  disciplined 
family?  Was  your  father  a  disciplinarian  as  his  father  had  been? 

Stampp:   Oh,  my  father  was  a  very  strict  disciplinarian.   He  probably  was 
not  quite  as  strict  as  his  father,  but  he  was  the  head  of  the 
house.   Typical  of  that  period,  he  had  nothing  to  do  with  the 
kitchen.  My  mother  did  the  baking  and  the  cooking.  When  we  were 
old  enough,  my  sister  and  I  would  dry  the  dishes  and  do  chores  in 
the  kitchen,  and  my  father  would  be  sitting  and  reading  somewhere. 
That's  the  kind  of  man  he  was,  and  it  was  typical  of  that  period. 
He  was  not  any  different  from  a  lot  of  other  men. 

Lage:    Did  he  make  the  decisions  in  the  household? 
Stampp:   Yes,  probably. 

Hard  Lessons  at  a  Young  Age 

Lage:     I  would  like  a  little  more  about  your  boyhood. 
Stampp:   Yes,  let's  go  back  to  that. 

I  have  to  tell  you  one  more  thing  about  my  family:  when  I  was 
five  years  old,  maybe  just  going  on  six,  my  father  was  very  sick, 
I  think  probably  with  the  flu.   I  think  my  grandparents  and  my 
parents  were  susceptible  to  quacks,  and  he  had  someone  come  in. 


They  were  sort  of  like  chiropractors,  but  they  called  themselves 
naprapaths.   They  had  a  theory  about  illness  being  caused  by 
problems  in  your  ligaments,  so  the  treatments  were  wonderful  for  a 
backache  but  no  good  for  flu  or  things  like  that.  My  father 
believed  in  it  as  sort  of  a  cure-all.   The  naprapath  who  treated 
him- -fortunately  he  survived  it—persuaded  him  to  become  a 

When  1  was  just  about  six,  I  think,  our  whole  household  broke 
up.  My  father  went  to  a  school  of  naprapathy  in  Chicago.  My 
mother  went  back  to  her  parents  and  worked  in  my  grandfather's 
grocery  store.   She  took  my  sister  with  her;  my  sister  was  only 
three  then.  My  grandmother  had  a  housekeeper  who  said  that  she 
simply  couldn't  have  me  around.   I  was  too  active  and  got  into 
things,  and  it  would  make  her  nervous. 

My  mother,  with,  I  trust,  some  reluctance,  decided  to  send  me 
to  stay  with  an  aunt.   This  went  on  for  the  next  approximately  two 
years.   It  was  a  horrible  time  in  my  life.   I  stayed  with  an  aunt 
for  a  while. 

Lage:    Was  this  in  your  mother's  family,  or  was  this  aunt  Selma? 

Stampp:   I  stayed  with  the  wife  of  my  mother's  brother.   She  and  her 
husband  were  temporarily  separated,  and  I  stayed  with  her. 

Lage:    Oh,  what  a  situation! 

Stampp:   I  stayed  there  for--I  don't  know,  I  can't  give  you  time.   From 

there,  when  my  aunt  finally  couldn't  keep  me,  I  was  sent  to  some 
widow.  All  of  this  meant  changing  schools.   She  kept  me  for  a 
couple  of  weeks.   I  remember  helping  someone  haul  a  coaster  with 
ice  in  it,  and  I  fell  and  hit  my  mouth  on  the  ice  and  came  up  with 
a  bloody  mouth.   The  woman  called  and  said  to  my  mother,  "I  can't 
keep  him. " 

Lage:    This  is  just  like  a  tale  out  of  Dickens! 

Stampp:   Well,  some  of  it  is  like  Dickens.   So  I  was  moved  again,  this  time 
to  a  Mrs.  Niemeyer  who  ran  a  boarding  house. 

Lage:    You  were  six  or  eight? 

Stampp:   I  was  six  then.   She  ran  a  boarding  house,  and  I  was  there  for 
quite  a  long  time.   I  remember  going  to  still  another  public 
school.   This  really  was  kind  of  like  Dickens  because  her  boarders 
were  older  men.   I  was  kept  in  the  kitchen,  and  I  was  fed  in  the 
kitchen.   I  was  losing  weight,  so  my  mother  was  giving  me  Guernsey 



milk,  rich  milk,  and  they  were  using  it. 
dreadful  time,  just  a  dreadful  time. 

Your  mother  was  in  the  same  town? 

I  stayed  there  and  had  a 

My  mother  was  about  a  mile  away  in  my  grandmother's  house. 
Did  you  go  to  visit  or  have  Sunday  dinner? 

I  would  be  there  on  Christmas  Day,  and  my  mother  used  to  take  me 
down  to  this  naprapath  to  have  some  treatments.   I  can  remember  a 
night--!  'm  telling  you  things  that  I  don't  talk  about  very  often- 
I  can  remember  one  night  my  mother  brought  me  back  to  Mrs. 
Niemeyer's  house.   It  must  have  been  about  nine  o'clock  at  night. 
I  cried--!  was  standing  on  the  porch--and  begged  her  to  take  me 
with  her. 



Stampp : 

I  was  six  years  old,  and  I  began  walking  the  streets.   I  began 
thinking,  and  I  can't  explain  why  this  is  true,  but  it  is  true, 
and  it's  an  extraordinary  thing  for  a  child.   I  thought  that 
night--!  didn't  verbalize  it--but  I  thought  that  night,  I  can't 
depend  on  my  parents,  I'm  going  to  have  to  look  out  for  myself. 
In  a  way,  it  was  a  horrible  experience,  but  it  was  at  a  very  young 
age  a  maturing  experience. 

Growing  up  fast,  at  age  six. 

Yes.   So  I  stayed  with  this  Mrs.  Neimeyer  five  months,  six  months, 
I  don't  know,  and  I  got  rather  sick.   I  remember  my  mother  coming 
over  with  one  of  the  sisters  of  my  grandmother,  an  aunt  who  was 
one  of  these  fundamentalist  Christians,  and  her  way  of  dealing 
with  illness--she  had  two  things:  prayer  and  castor  oil.   I  had 
both.   The  prayer  didn't  help,  and  the  castor  oil  was  horrible. 

Because  I  was  quite  ill- -it  must  have  been  flu,  I  don't  know 
what  else  —  they  took  me  away  from  this  place  and  put  me  in  another 
place,  which  was  just  about  a  half  a  block  from  my  grandmother, 
with  a  Mrs.  Sherman,  who  was  a  rather  nice  lady.   I  stayed  with 
her,  and  so  transferred  to  another  school. 

Was  this  another  boarding  house,  or  just  a  woman's  home? 

No,  Mrs.  Sherman  was  a  widow,  and  she  kept  me.  There  was  no  one 
else  there.  She  really  was  quite  nice,  and  my  mother  was  within 
one  hundred  yards  or  so,  and  I  could  see  her  and  see  my  sister. 


Then,  eventually,  for  the  last  couple  of  months--!  don't  know 
why  Mrs.  Schultz,  who  was  the  housekeeper,  finally  relented  and 
said  I  could  come  there--!  stayed  with  my  grandparents. 

Lage:    And  your  mother. 

Stampp:   With  my  mother  and  my  sister.   I  can  remember  being  very  casual 
about  school.   If  I  went  to  school,  I  would  go  home  any  time  I 
felt  like  it.   I  was  learning  nothing. 

Lage:    It  wasn't  something  your  mother  was  looking  after,  it  sounds  like. 

Stampp:   My  mother  was  so  busy.   She  was  working  all  day  in  the  grocery 
store  trying  to  make  some  money.  A  house  that  we  had  recently 
bought  was  rented  out,  and  my  father--!  don't  know--maybe  he 
borrowed  money,  because  he  certainly  didn't  have  much  money  at 
that  time. 

Lage:    Did  your  mother  support  your  father's  choice  to  be  trained  in 

Stampp:   Yes,  she  did.   I  never  heard  of  her—well,  [laughs]  later  on—that 
gets  on  into  the  1920s  and  thirties.  My  father  was  never  much  of 
a  success  at  this,  and  my  mother  once  in  a  while  would  say,  "You 
used  to  get  a  really  steady  salary  when  you  worked  at  the  post 
office,  and  now  we've  got  this  rather  insecure  existence." 

The  first  three  years  after  I  was  born,  we  lived  upstairs 
from  my  grandparents,  until  I  was  three,  maybe  four.   That  was 
rather  nice  because  my  mother  was  the  oldest,  and  she  had  two 
sisters  and  two  brothers,  and  the  two  sisters  were  down  below,  two 
aunts  of  mine  that  I  saw  a  lot  of.   I  loved  my  grandfather;  he  was 
just  a  wonderful  man.   I  guess  I  really  was  more  devoted  to  him 
than  I  was  to  my  own  father.   He  used  to  take  me  —  during  this 
period  when  my  father  was  in  Chicago— my  grandfather  used  to  go 
down  to  the  Commission  Market  early  in  the  morning  in  a  little 
Ford  truck  to  pick  up  strawberries,  raspberries,  fruits,  and 
vegetables.   He  used  to  take  me  with  him,  and  I  used  to  love  going 
down  there. 

Lage:    So  that  was  a  source  of  some  stability. 

Stampp:   That's  right,  that's  right.  My  grandmother  was  not  much  of  a 

source;  she  was  a  terrible  worrier  and  a  fusser.   I  can  remember 
sitting  in  the  kitchen  with  my  grandfather  having  lunch,  away  from 
the  store,  and  my  grandmother,  all  in  German,  fussing  at  him  about 
something.   I  can  hear  him--!  can  still  see  him  sitting  there 
smiling  and  listening  to  her,  and  finally  saying,  "Ach,  Annie," 
something  in  German,  "don't  be  so  excited,"  something  like  that. 


We  left  the  flat  upstairs  from  my  grandparents  when  I  was 
four.   I  think  my  father  finally  had  as  much  of  my  grandmother, 
his  mother-in-law,  as  he  could  take,  and  he  wanted  to  get  away. 
We  rented  a  house  for  a  year,  and  then  we  bought  a  little 
bungalow,  what  was  then  way  out  on  the  edge  of  Milwaukee.   It  was 
a  new  bungalow  that  nobody  had  lived  in  before,  and  in  front  of  us 
I  can  remember  were  fields  of  grass,  nothing  but  fields.   That  was 
wonderful--!  was  five—for  a  five-year-old  child  to  have,  this 
great  field  to  play  in.   North  of  us  one  block  was  the  Milwaukee 
city  limit. 

We  returned  to  that  house  when  my  father  finished  naprapathy 
school.   I  was  seven.  My  father  set  up  his  practice,  and  it  was 
slow  going,  but  he  finally  managed  to  buy  a  Ford--I  think  it  was  a 
1921  Ford. 

Lage:    Was  that  a  sign  of  prosperity  then? 

Stampp:   Well,  he  had  to  have  it  because  he  made  house  calls.   The  house 
was--in  my  recollection,  the  house  cost  $4,500,  and  on  that  he 
took  out  a  mortgage  of  $2,500,  which  he  got  from  my  mother's 
father,  my  grandfather.   In  the  twenties  my  father  was  not  doing 
very  well.  Actually,  he  was  a  man  of  many  talents,  but  he  was  not 
cut  out  to  be  a  lawyer,  or  a  doctor,  or  a  professional  man  because 
he  didn't  have  the  social  graces  that  he  needed.   He  was  not 
gregarious;  he  was  a  rather  introverted  man.   He  was  never  very 
successful,  and  there  were  times  when  we  took  roomers  into  our 
house  to  help  meet  expenses  in  the  twenties.   I  can  remember--! 
think  one  year  my  father  did  quite  well,  and  there  was  sort  of 
relief  in  the  house.   Then  came  the  Depression,  and  things  really 
got  bad. 

Lage:    So  the  twenties  were  not  the  Roaring  Twenties  for  you. 

Stampp:   The  twenties  were  certainly  not  the  Roaring  Twenties  for  me. 

First  of  all,  you  couldn't  roar  very  much  in  this  rather  Christian 
fundamentalist  house,  and  there  wasn't  much  money. 

Lage:    There  wasn't  the  prosperity  that  you  associate-- 
Stampp:   No,  there  was  not  enough  money. 

As  soon  as  I  was  twelve—that  was  1924--I  got  a  newspaper 
route,  and  I  was  to  a  certain  extent  self-employed  from  then  on. 
I  got  no  spending  money  from  my  parents.   I  earned  my  own  money. 
I  even  bought  some  of  my  clothes.   In  addition  to  newspapers,  I 
was  selling  magazines,  and  eventually  when  I  was  a  junior  in  high 
school,  I  got  a  job  working  in  a  drugstore.   When  I  started 
Milwaukee  State  Teachers  College,  after  school  I  worked  in  my 


grandfather's  grocery  store.   So  I  was  doing  some  kind  of  work 
from  twelve  years  on,  either  delivering  newspapers  or  selling 
magazines  or  working  in  the  drugstore  as  a  soda  jerk  or  working  in 
my  grandfather's  store. 

Boyhood  Interests  it 

Stampp:   I  am  forgetting  one  part  of  my  childhood  that  was  really  very 

important.   I  don't  know  how  I  forgot  it.  When  I  was  twelve,  I 
joined  the  Boy  Scouts.   Every  summer,  I  would  go  to  the  Boy  Scout 
camp  for  two  weeks.   That,  to  me,  was  just  marvelous.   I  worked  my 
way  all  the  way  up  to  an  Eagle  Scout,  and  became  a  junior 
assistant  scoutmaster  eventually.   Then  in  my  last  year  in  high 
school  and  my  first  two  years  in  college,  I  got  a  job  working  at  a 
Boy  Scout  camp  all  summer  long. 

Lage:    Was  this  —  it  wouldn't  be  wilderness—an  outdoor  camp? 

Stampp:   It  was  on  Silver  Lake  which  was  a  lovely  lake  about  thirty-  five 
miles  west  of  Milwaukee,  and  the  camp  was  called  Indian  Mound 
Reservation.   There  was  a  great  Indian  mound  there  in  the  shape  of 
a  turtle.   It  was  beautiful  land.   I  was  called  the  hike  master. 
I  used  to  take  groups  out  on  hikes,  sometimes  overnight  hikes,  and 
also  on  canoe  trips.   There  was  a  chain  of  lakes  so  that  you  were 
able  to  go  from  one  lake  through  a  stream  into  another  lake  and  on 
and  on.   I  used  to  take  canoe  trips  with  eight  or  ten  scouts. 

Lage:     Is  that  an  interest  that  you've  kept  up? 

Stampp:   No,  when  I  went  to  Madison  that  was  the  end  of  it.   I  even  helped 
to  start  a  new  scout  troop  in  Milwaukee.   The  summers  were  just 
wonderful.   I  had  lots  of  friends,  obviously,  and  we  had  lots  of 
swimming  and  boating,  and  it  was  just  perfect. 

Lage:    So  those  were  the  good  parts. 

Stampp:   I  was  even  paid  a  little  bit.   In  addition  to  room  and  board,  I 
think  I  got  something  like  $100  in  the  summer  for  working  there. 
That  was  great. 

Stampp:   I  think  I  ought  to  talk  a  little  bit  about  who  my  friends  were 
when  I  was  in  high  school.  Most  of  them  came  out  of  Kingsley 
Methodist  Episcopal  Church.   Earlier  I  had  neighborhood  friends, 
and  every  spare  moment  I  had,  I  was  out  playing  baseball  with 


them.   I  even  helped  to  organize  a  little  athletic  club  in  our 
neighborhood,  and  we  bought  and  sold  tickets  at  a  neighborhood 
movie.  We  got  part  of  the  profits  and  used  that  to  buy  jerseys. 
We  called  ourselves  the  Eagle  A.C.,  Athletic  Club.   Baseball  was 
my  great  passion. 

To  my  great  regret,  my  mother  wanted  me  very  much  to  learn  to 
play  the  piano.   I  had  two  years  of  piano  lessons,  and  after  a 
teary  scene--my  mother  was  with  tears  again--!  stopped  the  piano. 
She  persuaded  me  to  take  up  the  violin.   I  had  two  years  of  violin 
lessons  with  the  same  result:  after  two  years,  I  gave  up. 

Lage:    Do  you  have  any  sense  of  what  vision  she  had  for  you? 

Stampp:  Well,  my  parents  loved  music,  and  my  mother  could  play  the  piano  a 
little  bit.  My  father  had,  for  his  time,  a  lot  of  seventy-eight 
classical  records  of  opera  excerpts  and  even  Schubert's  Unfinished 
Symphony.  My  mother's  brother  and  one  of  my  mother's  sisters  were 
singers.  They  had  music  lessons,  and  they  used  to  sing  in  church. 
I  think  all  of  my  mother's  siblings  had  piano  lessons. 

Lage:    So  it  was  what  children  should  do. 
Stampp:   This  was  a  German  family. 
Lage:    Did  your  sister  get  the  same? 

Stampp:   Well,  now,  my  sister  was  something  else.   My  sister  started  piano 
lessons  when  she  was  about  seven,  and  she  just  took  to  it.   Nobody 
had  to  tell  her  to  practice.   She  had  piano  lessons  for  years,  I 
don't  know,  eight  or  nine  years,  and  this  became  one  of  the  great 
loves  of  her  life.   She  became  a  very  good  amateur  pianist,  still 
plays.   Later  on,  she  even  played—three  other  women  had  a 
teacher,  there  were  four  of  them,  and  they  had  four  pianos,  and 
they  used  to  play  symphonies  with  the  four  pianos.   In  my  later 
years,  I  have  envied  my  sister  and  wished  that  my  father,  who  was 
a  strict  disciplinarian,  had  used  a  little  discipline  on  me  and 
made  me  stick  to  the  piano--as  Mozart's  father  undoubtedly  did — or 
the  violin,  either  one. 

Lage:     Because  you  haven't  gone  on  with  the  baseball,  or  had  you? 

Stampp:   No,  I've  lost  interest  in  baseball.   I  was  interested  for  a  long 
time,  but  that  was  my  great  interest  as  a  child. 

Lage:    How  about  reading  in  the  home? 

Stampp:   My  sister  and  I  both  were  readers,  and  my  sister  even  more  than  I. 
She  didn't  play  baseball,  she  just  read. 


Lage:    Was  that  encouraged? 

Stampp:   I  don't  remember.  We  had  a  small  collection.  There  was  one 

collection  of  books  that  I  remember,  it  was  something  they  must 
have  bought  from  a  salesman:  Journeys  Through  Boofcland.  The  first 
volume  was  all  fairy  stories,  then  on  to  things  more  and  more 
mature.  My  mother  used  to  do  a  lot  of  reading  to  my  sister  and 
me,  and  we  loved  to  sit  and  listen  to  her  read.  My  father  never 
did  that,  but  my  mother  would  do  that.  As  soon  as  we  were  able  to 
read,  we  made  heavy  use  of  the  Milwaukee  Public  Library. 

I  can  remember  my  sister  wanted  to  read  before  she  could 
read.   She  would  get  on  her  knees  and  on  her  elbows  on  the  floor 
and  have  the  newspaper  in  front  of  her  and  pretend  she  was 
reading,  make  funny  noises.   That's  all  she  would  do--"galla, 
galla,  galla,"  or  something  like  that.   In  any  case,  as  soon  as  we 
were  able  to  read,  we  were  at  the  public  library  and  used  to  bring 
books  home. 

Lage:    And  do  you  remember  any  favorite  books? 

Stampp:   I  remember  a  child's  biography  of  George  Washington,  and  some 

other  books  that  related  to  history  which  made  me  think  very  early 
that  I  wanted  to  be  a  historian.   In  fact,  in  fifth  grade  I  told  a 
friend  of  mine  I  was  going  to  be  a  history  teacher.   He  told  me  he 
was  going  to  be  a  lawyer,  and  he  was,  and  I  am.   Harold  Singer 
said,  "I'm  going  to  be  a  lawyer." 

Lage:     Isn't  that  something?   Fifth  grade. 

Stampp:   Yes.  My  mother  wanted  to  censor  our  books.   She  wanted  to  be  sure 
they  were  wholesome  books,  and  she  had  some  funny  ideas.   I  loved 
to  read  Edgar  Rice  Burroughs'  Tarzan  books,  and  she  didn't  think 
they  were  very  nice  books.   I  don't  know  why.   So  I  borrowed  them 
from  my  friends,  since  I  didn't  have  them. 

Lage:    Weren't  those  made  into  movies  also,  or  were  they  at  that  time? 

Stampp:   Yes,  but  I  never  thought  the  movies  were  up  to  the  Tarzan  and 

Tarzan  of  the  Apes  and  The  Son  of  Tarzan  and  The  Return  of  Tarzan 
and  Tarzan  and  the—did  you  ever  read  any  Tarzan  books?  I'll  bet 
you  did. 

Lage:    I  don't  think  I  did,  but  I  did  see  some  of  the  movies. 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  used  to  love  to  read  Tom  Swift  books,  Tom  Swift  and  His 
Photo  Telephone  and  all  of  those.   I  loved  those. 

Lage:    The  Hardy  boys,  did  you  read  the  Hardy  boys? 


Stampp:   No,  I  didn't  read  the  Hardy  boys,  but  I  read  a  whole  series—there 
must  have  been  twenty  books  in  the  series—written  by  someone 
named  Percy  Keese  Fitzhugh.   They  were  books  about  a  Boy  Scout 
named  Roy  Blakely  and  his  incredible  adventures,  and  I  had  many  of 
them  in  my  own  little  library  upstairs. 

I  had  two  magazines— someone  subscribed  to  two  magazines  for 
me,  Boys'  Life  and  The  American  Boy,  and  I  loved  reading  the 
stories  in  them.   I  began  reading  fiction  in  the  Saturday  Evening 
Post.   Incidentally,  in  the  1920s,  Saturday  Evening  Post  had  the 
best  short  story  writers  in  the  country- -McKinley  Cantor  and  all 
kinds  of  first-rate  fiction  writers. 

Lage :    Was  the  Bible  read  regularly? 

Stampp:   Well,  there  were  times  when  my  father  would  read  the  Bible  to  us. 
This  was  sort  of  off  and  on,  and  that  was  when  I  was  very  young. 
Later  on  I  didn't  look  at  the  Bible  any  more  until  I  got  old 
enough  to  think  of  it  as  something  other  than  the  source  of  all 
wisdom.   I  began  to  think  of  it  as  literature,  and  then  found  it 
fascinating  again,  but  that  took  a  lot  of  maturing. 

Elementary  and  High  School  Education 

Stampp:   In  elementary  school,  I  had  lots  of  trouble.   I  attribute  it  to 
those  first  two  years  when  I  was  in  first  and  second  grade  and 
moved  around  a  great  deal.   I  was  always  a  very  active  young 
child.   I  had  to  be  doing  something  all  the  time.   I  found  it  hard 
to  sit  still  in  school,  too.   It  took  me  a  long  time  to  run  into  a 
teacher  who  liked  me;  most  of  them  didn't  like  me.   I  was  a 
problem  for  them,  and  they  were  problems  for  me.  Whereas  my 
sister  was  always  so  sweet-- [laughter] 

Lage:    That's  probably  the  story  in  a  lot  of  families. 

Stampp:   Of  course  she  always  did  extremely  well  in  school,  and  I  was  doing 
very  badly  in  school.   I  particularly  had  trouble  with  penmanship. 
My  penmanship  was  atrocious .   I  remember  one  of  my  teachers  in 
seventh  grade,  I  think  it  was,  gave  me  an  F  in  penmanship,  and  I 
had  to  go  to  summer  school.   In  those  days,  you  were  supposed  to 
do  the  Palmer  method— arm  movement.   Do  you  remember  that? 

Lage:    Yes,  I  do  know  that.   I  think  I  was  trained  in  that  way,  too. 

Stampp:   You  used  to  sit  in  seventh  grade  or  eighth  grade,  and  the 

phonograph  would  be  on,  and  you  were  supposed  to  be  doing  up  and 







down,  up  and  down,  circles  and  circles  and  circles.   I  don't  know 
what  on  earth  they  thought  you  would  gain  from  that.  Well,  I  had 
to  go  to  summer  school  to  improve  my  penmanship.   [laughter] 
School  never  really  interested  me  very  much. 

Even  as  you  got  a  little  older? 


When  you  decided  you  wanted  to  be  an  historian? 

Well,  I  always  did  well  in  history.   I  would  do  well  in  one 
subject  and  just  terrible  in  other  subjects. 

How  were  math  and  science? 

I  was  pretty  good  in  math.   I  did  very  well  in  arithmetic,  in 
geography,  and  in  my  history  class.   I  had  finally  met  a  teacher 
who  liked  me  in  my  history  class.  On  the  other  hand,  the  teacher 
that  I  had  in  penmanship  and  spelling  was  an  absolute  horror.   I 
mean  we  had  a  real  civil  war.   I  hated  that  teacher,  I  can't  tell 
you  how  much. 

Was  this  a  woman? 

A  woman.   She  was  my  homeroom  teacher  as  well  as  my  penmanship  and 
spelling  teacher.   It  was  just  mutual  hate.   I  remember  one  time 
at  the  end  of  the  term—we  used  to  have  parents'  day—and  we  all 
brought  flowers  to  our  room  and  put  things  up  on  the  wall. 

The  usual. 

The  usual.   This  teacher  told  me  I  was  supposed  to  bring  flowers- 
no,  she  asked  us  to  bring  flowers.   I  wouldn't  bring  any  to  her, 
but  I  brought  them  to  another  teacher.   So  she  sent  me  home  and 
said,  "You  go  home,  and  you  bring  some  flowers."  I  went  home,  and 
I  picked  a  bunch  of  wilted  roses,  really  wilted  roses,  and  gave 
them  to  her  as  my  revenge. 

[laughs]   It's  amazing  that  these  things  have  so  much  impact. 


You  don't  forget  them. 

No,  I  don't  forget  them.   One  other  class  that  I  really  liked  was 
art  and  music.   I  wasn't  much  of  an  artist,  but  I  loved  to  look  at 
the  pictures,  and  I  loved  to  sing.  We  had  a  lot  of  singing  in 
seventh  and  eighth  grade,  and  I  remember  my  teacher  put  me  in  the 


alto  section,  and  I  still  was  a  boy  soprano.   I  said,  "I  can't 
sing  that  low,"  so  I  got  to  be  a  boy  soprano.   I  wanted  to  carry 
the  main  part  anyway,  and  that's  soprano.   I  loved  that,  just 
absolutely  loved  it. 

Lage:    So  there  were  things  about  school  that  attracted  you. 

Stampp:   That  I  did  well  in.   Of  course  I  loved  recess  and  when  we  played 
baseball  after  school.  Well,  after  school  I  began  carrying 
newspapers . 

I  had  the  same  problem  in  high  school.   I  was  not  a  good 
student.   Let's  see,  what  did  I  do  well  in?  I  did  well  in  algebra 
and  not  so  well  in  geometry.   I  did  only  medium  well  even  in  my 
history  classes.   In  my  high  school,  you  actually  declared  a 
major,  and  I  majored  in  history.   So  I  had  a  course  in  ancient 
history,  medieval  history,  modern  European  history  and  American 
history  through  the  four  years.   Unfortunately,  the  way  it  was 
taught  was  just  terribly  boring.   You  had  a  textbook,  nothing 
else.   You  read  a  textbook,  and  you  had  to  read  so  many  pages  and 
go  in  and  recite,  stand  up  and  then  recite  part  of  it.   Oh,  that 
was  just-- 

Lage:    Deadly. 

Stampp:   --terribly  deadly,  yes. 

Lage:    It  sounds  very  academic.  Was  it  a  high  school  that  was  academic, 
or  did  it  also  have  some  preparation  for  people  who  may  not  be 
going  on  to  college? 

Stampp:   My  high  school  was  just  the  neighborhood  high  school,  the  nearest 
one.   There  was  a  boys'  technical  high  school  for  those  who- -well, 
it  was  possible  by  Wisconsin  law,  I  think,  to  start  part-time  work 
as  early  as  fifteen  years,  so  you  would  be  working  and  you  would 
have  a  job  in  a  factory  or  something,  and  then  you  would  also  go 
to  the  boys'  tech  where  you  would  learn  some  craft,  but  you  would 
have  something  besides  that.   You  would  have  some  reading  and 

Lage:    When  did  you  start  thinking  that  maybe  you  would  go  on  to  college? 

Stampp:   Oh,  always.   Neither  of  my  parents  went  to  college.   In  fact,  my 
grandfather  took  my  mother  out  of  school  when  she  finished  fifth 
grade.   He  needed  her  in  the  store,  and  she  learned  to  keep  the 
books.   My  father  finished  high  school,  but  that  was  it,  except 
for  going  to  this  school  of  naprapathy.   Ultimately,  incidentally, 
he  got  a  license  as  a  chiropractor,  so  he  was  sort  of  both  then. 


I'm  the  oldest  son.  My  parents  never  had  that  feeling  about 
my  sister,  but  of  course  Kenneth  was  going  to  college.   One  reason 
was  that--I  have  to  back  up  a  little  bit.  My  father  should  have 
been  a  cabinet  maker,  he  should  have  been  a  carpenter,  he  should 
have  been  a  contractor.   He  could  do  anything  with  his  hands,  and 
I  could  do  nothing. 

Lage:    So  they  realized  that  wasn't  your  inclination? 




He  never  encouraged  me.  He  would  be  doing  something,  making 
something,  and  I  would  be  there,  and  I  can  remember  him  always 
saying,  "You'd  better  let  me  do  that."  So  I  would  finally  say,  in 
effect,  "The  hell  with  it,"  and  let  him  do  it.   I  remember  him 
saying  one  time,  "Well,  you've  got  to  go  on  to  college,  because 
you  can't  do  anything  with  your  hands,"  and  he  was  quite  right.   I 
wasn't  very  good,  and  I'm  still  no  good  with  my  hands.  My  family 
always  worried  when  I  started  trying  to  do  something  with  the 
plumbing  because  they  knew  it  could  get  worse.   [laughter] 

You  asked  what  I  was  good  in.   I  was  pretty  good  in  algebra. 
I  was  good  in  English.   I  had  some  wonderful  English  teachers  in 
my  junior  and  senior  year  in  high  school.   One  had  a  wonderful 
voice,  and  she  loved  to  read  poetry,  and  I  just  loved  listening  to 
her.   Do  you  remember  Vachel  Lindsay,  a  poet? 


Well,  that's  not  great  poetry,  but  she  used  to  read  it  with  this 
deep  voice,  and  I  just  loved  it.   I  liked  writing  little  essays. 

Then  in  my  senior  year,  I  had  another  marvelous  English 
teacher.   We  were  reading  Shakespeare.   We  read  Shakespeare  all 
the  way  through  high  school,  in  fact,  and  I  enjoyed  it  very  much. 
There  were  set  books  that  we  had  to  read:  Jane  Eyre  obviously,  and 
Mill  on  the  Floss,  Silas  Warner.   I  can't  remember  all  of  them, 
but  I  loved  reading  them.  We  started  off,  as  far  as  Shakespeare 
was  concerned,  reading  Julius  Caesar  and  The  Merchant  of  Venice, 
and  then  we  got  on  to  Hamlet  and  Macbeth  and  King  Lear.   It  was 
done  in  a  way  that  was  supposed  to  be  deadening.   That  is,  we 
analyzed  these  plays,  and  we  learned  bits  of  them. 

You  recited? 

I  loved  it. 

It  never  bored  me  at  all.   I  loved  learning  bits  of 

In  my  senior  year  in  high  school,  the  second  semester,  I  came 
down  with  pneumonia.   Now,  I  have  to  go  back  a  little  bit. 
Suddenly  in  my  junior  year  I  got  interested  in  chemistry,  and  I 


set  up  a  chemical  lab  in  my  basement  at  home.   I  spent  much  of  my 
money  buying  beakers  and  retorts  and  chemicals.   It  was  a  bad 
place  for  me  to  be  spending  time;  it  was  a  cold,  damp  basement, 
and  I  came  down  with  a  really  bad  case  of  pneumonia.   I  was  out  of 
school  for  five  or  six  weeks.   There  was  no  penicillin. 

Lage:    No  penicillin.  That  makes  such  a  difference. 

Stampp:   You  just  hoped  you  survived,  that's  all.  The  result  was  my  father 
came  home  with  the  bad  news  that  I  wasn't  going  to  be  able  to 
graduate  in  June  because  I  had  missed  so  many  classes.   I  had  to 
drop  all  my  classes  except  English.   I  tried  to  go  on  with  Latin, 
but  I  was  just  too  far  behind.   I  had  that  senior  year  this 
wonderful  English  teacher,  Miss  Strohm.   She  agreed  that  in  order 
to  get  caught  up  I  could  meet  with  her  at  eleven  o'clock  every 
morning.   She  would  give  up  her  free  period. 

This  was  the  great  experience  of  my  school.   I  fell  in  love 
with  her,  she  was  just  a  wonderful  woman.   She  loved  late 
Victorian  and  Edwardian  fiction.   I  read  Hugh  Walpole  and  Arnold 
Bennett  and  John  Galsworthy— 

Lage:     This  is  pretty  heavy  stuff. 

Stampp:   --and  H.  G.  Wells.   I  read  right  straight  through  The  For sy the 
Saga--I  was  a  senior—and  I  loved  it.   I  enjoyed  coming  in  and 
talking  to  her.   This  was  a  tutorial,  an  hour  of  just  talking 
about  the  books  I  was  reading.   I  had  to  go  back  that  fall  to 
finish—in  other  words,  it  was  four  and  a  half  years  getting  out 
of  high  school.   I  was  not  going  to  be  in  her  English  class  that 
fall,  but  I  wanted  to  be  with  her.   She  was  the  head  of  the 
Washington  Players,  and  I'm  not  much  of  an  actor,  but  I  was 
determined  to  get  into  the  Washington  Players  just  to  be  with  her. 
So  I  did.   I  had  to  do  some  little  pantomime.   I  managed  to  get 

Lage:    Was  it  a  high  school  group  or  a  community  theater? 

Stampp:   No,  this  was  just  the  high  school.   It  was  the  Washington  Players, 
Washington  High  School,  and  I  was  in  it  my  senior  year.   I  acted 
in  one  of  the  plays,  but  I  was  with  her— this  marvelous  teacher  I 

Lage:    Was  she  a  young  woman? 

Stampp:   She  was  in  her  thirties,  I  would  guess  mid-thirties,  unmarried. 

Most  of  the  teachers  were  unmarried  women  in  those  days.   That  to 
me  was  the  high  point  of  my  high  school  years. 



Music  also  was  getting  to  be  pretty  important  in  my  life.   I 
started  with  my  father's  records  and  singing  in  the  seventh  and 
eighth  grades.   In  high  school,  I  sang  in  the  high  school  glee 
club,  and  in  our  church  I  sang  in  the  junior  choir—even  when  I 
had  become  a  flaming  atheist,  I  loved  singing  the  hymns.  A  lot  of 
my  friends  were  in  the  choir,  too.  We  had  to  rehearse  on  Thursday 
nights  and  then  sing  Sunday  night  services. 

So  that  wasn't  an  obligation,  that  was  something  you  wanted  to  do. 
No,  that  was  something  I  just  loved  very  much. 

Stampp:   Now,  out  of  this  church  choir  that  I  sang  in  came  some  of  my 

closest  friends.  We  even  organized  a  little  tea-and-toast  club. 
There  were  six  or  seven  of  us.  We  would  go  from  one  family  to 
another  each  Sunday  evening  before  choir.  We  would  have  tea  and 
toast,  and  our  mothers  would  lay  out  a  nice  meal.   Somebody  would 
be  playing  the  piano,  and  we  would  be  singing. 

Lage:    Were  these  boys  and  girls? 

Stampp:   These  were  six  or  seven  young  friends  of  mine,  all  boys--all 

teenagers—but  we  all  had  girlfriends,  and  we  had  parties.  We 
belonged  to  a  club  at  the  church,  too,  called  the--  Junior  League? 
I  can't  remember  what  it  was  called.   These  were  boys  and  girls. 

Lage:    So  there  were  plenty  of  activities  for  young  people. 

Stampp:   Most  of  my  social  activities  were  through  this  church,  even  in 
these  years  when  I  was  an  absolute  atheist. 

Lage:    It  was  more  than  religion. 

Stampp:   This  was  a  social  thing.   I  sang  in  the  choir,  rehearsed  in  the 
choir,  and  we  had  this  tea-and-toast  club.   Then  we  would  have 
parties  and  go  roller  skating;  or  somebody  would  have  a  cottage  up 
at  the  lake,  and  we  would  all  go  up  and  party.   Incidentally, 
there  never  was  any  alcohol—this  was  strictly  nonalcoholic  all 
the  way  through  high  school. 

Lage:    You  didn't  have  too  many  rebels,  it  seems,  or  they  were  on  the 
outskirts  of  this  group? 

Stampp:   This  high  school  was  ethnically  unmixed.   There  were  Catholics, 
Jews,  and  Protestants,  but  ethnically,  there  were  Jews  and 
Gentiles.   There  wasn't  a  single  black,  there  wasn't  a  single 
Asian,  there  wasn't  a  single  Hispanic. 





You  wouldn't  really  expect  it,  I  would  think. 
There  were  1,800  students  in  this  high  school, 
In  the  city  of  Milwaukee,  though. 

Yes,  and  it  was  in  a  purely  Caucasian  neighborhood.   The  closest 
we  got  to  an  ethnic  mix  was  having  some  Jews  in  our  classes. 

Was  it  again  strongly  German  American? 

I  looked  at  the  names.   I  still  have  a  yearbook,  and  I  looked  at 
the  names.   There  are  some  Russian  Jewish  names,  some  German 
Jewish  names,  but  overwhelmingly  the  names  are  German.   I  saw  a 
few  Italian  and  French  names. 

Milwaukee,  when  I  was  a  child,  was  cut  in  half  by  the 
Milwaukee  River  and  the  Kinnikinick  River.   North  of  the  river 
were  the  Germans,  and  south  of  the  river  were  the  Poles,  and  sort 
of  in  the  middle  there  was  a  small  community  of  Italians. 
Milwaukee,  with  a  population  of  about  500,000,  had  about  1,500 
blacks  at  that  time,  and  a  small  group  of  Italians,  and  a 
scattering  of  Irish,  too.   It  was  interesting:  the  Poles  were 
almost  all  on  one  side  of  the  river,  and  the  Germans  were  on  the 
other  side  of  the  river. 

And  how  about  the  Jewish  population? 

They  were  everywhere. 

Did  they  mix  in  school?  Was  there  any  anti-Semitism? 

There  was  a  Jewish  Boy  Scout  troop  at  the  synagogue.   Our  Boy 
Scout  troop  met  in  the  Kingsley  Methodist  Church;  they  weren't  all 
members  of  the  church  but  mostly  tended  to  be. 

Milwaukee  State  Teachers  College--1931 


Let's  get  you  into  college.   Did  you  go  right  on  to  college  after 
the  extra  semester? 


Yes.   When  I  finished  high  school,  I  went  in  February  1931 
immediately  into  what  was  then  the  Milwaukee  State  Teachers 
College,  which  is  now  the  University  of  Wisconsin,  Milwaukee, 
that  time  it  was  strictly  a  teachers  college.   Most  of  the 
students  at  Milwaukee  State  Teachers  College  probably  didn't 


intend  to  go  into  teaching.   It  was  just  a  very  inexpensive  place 
to  go  to  college. 




Most  students  lived  at  home? 

Most  of  them  were  Milwaukee  kids,  and  they  could  live  at  home.   I 
was  at  home.   The  tuition  was  twelve  dollars  a  semester,  and  your 
textbooks  were  lent  to  you.   They  didn't  give  them  to  you,  but  you 
went  to  a  place  and  got  your  textbooks  free.   So  it  cost  twelve 
dollars  to  go  to  school  there. 

The  Depression  was  on  by  then. 

That's  right,  the  Depression  was  on. 

Was  there  a  thought  that  you  should  be  working? 

Well,  after  school,  I  worked  in  my  grandfather's  store.  My 
grandfather  had  given  up  his  big  store  by  then,  and  he  tried  to 
retire  but  couldn't  stand  it,  so  he  started  a  little  grocery 
store.   I  used  to  go  and  work  with  him  after  school  and  on 

Were  you  thinking  of  being  a  teacher? 

I  was  working  for  a  teacher's  credential,  a  high  school  teacher's 
credential,  and  I  was  going  to  be  a  high  school  history  teacher. 
That's  all  I  was  thinking  of  at  that  time. 

Now,  Milwaukee  State  Teachers  College  for  two  more  years  was 
academically  a  disaster  for  me.   I  hated  the  place.   I  did  very 
badly  there.   I  did  fine  in  history;  I  had  a  wonderful  history 
teacher  there  who  had  just  come  with  a  Ph.D.  out  of  the  University 
of  Wisconsin.   I  liked  that.   I  had  a  social  science  teacher--! 
don't  know  what  else  to  call  him--who  was  wonderful. 
Incidentally,  by  this  time,  I  had  become  very  radical  politically. 

So  I  didn't  like  Milwaukee  State  Teachers  College,  and  I 
didn't  do  very  well  there.   I  was  busy  doing  other  things.   I  had 
to  work  every  Saturday  and  all  the  time  after  school,  so  I  didn't 
have  much  time.   I  was  trying  to  write  a  novel  and  doing  nothing 
about  my  school.   I  cut  classes,  and  the  result  is  I  left  a 
disastrous  record  there. 


Aunt  Selma  and  the  University  of  Wisconsin-- 1933 

Stampp:   At  the  end  of  my  sophomore  year—this  was  a  great  crisis  —  in 

January  1933,  I  was  called  into  a  meeting  with  my  English  teacher, 
the  dean,  and  someone  else.   I  can't  remember  who  it  was.   They 
told  me,  "Things  are  bad.  We're  in  the  Depression."  This  is 
1933,  at  its  worst.   "There  are  no  jobs  for  high  school  history 
teachers,  and  it  would  be  well  for  you  to  switch  into  elementary 
education."  I  said,  "No,  I'm  not  going  to  do  that.   I'll  take  my 
chances.   I  want  a  high  school  job."  They  tried,  "There  just 
aren't  jobs."  Finally,  my  English  teacher  spoke  up— I  had  done 
very  badly  even  in  English. 

Lage:    In  English,  which  you  loved. 

Stampp:   She  was  a  terrible  woman.  My  English  teacher  said,  "Well,  I  can 

tell  you,  I'd  never  recommend  you  for  a  high  school  job."  I  don't 
know  what  ever  got  into  me,  I  just  exploded.   I  said,  "Well,  you 
won't  ever  have  to,  because  I'm  leaving  this  place."  I  went  home 
and  told  my  parents,  "I'm  not  going  back  there."  Then  the 
question  was,  where  would  I  go?  My  father  said,  "Well,  would  you 
like  to  go  to  Marquette  University?"   I  said,  "I'm  not  going  to 
that  Catholic  institution."   I  have  to  tell  you  another  thing: 
there  was  a  lot  of  anti-Catholicism  in  my  family  because  of  their 
kind  of  Protestantism.  My  father  had  been  very  anti-Catholic,  so 
I  had  no  trouble  saying,  "Look,  I'm  not  going  to  that  Catholic 
college. " 

Lage:    I'm  surprised  he  suggested  it. 
Stampp:   I  really  was,  too. 

I  had  a  friend  who  was  going  to  a  little  college  about  twenty 
miles  outside  of  Milwaukee,  Carroll  College.   He  said,  "Why  don't 
you  come  out  here  and  look  at  Carroll?"  So  I  went  out  and  spent 
the  day  there,  and  it  looked  pretty  nice.   I  thought  I  would  have 
to  stay  there,  but  I  thought  I  could  come  home  weekends,  work  in 
my  grandfather's  store  and  make  some  money  and  help  pay  the  cost 
of  this.   I  came  home  and  was  about  to  tell  them,  "I  think  I'd 
like  to  go  to  Carroll  College." 

My  father  came  home  that  Friday  night— now,  this  is  where 
this  maiden  aunt,  my  aunt  Selma,  comes  in.   I've  got  to  tell  you  a 
lot  about  her.   My  father  used  to  confer  with  her  when  there  were 
problems.   She  was  a  trained  nurse,  and  she  had  taken  on  a  job 
years  earlier  with  a  Mrs.  Kiekhafer  who  had  a  stroke,  a  paralytic 
stroke,  and  she  looked  after  her  for  years  and  years.   This  was  a 



Stampp ; 



very  wealthy  family.  They  owned  the  National  Aluminum  and 
Stamping  Company.   I  don't  think  you  can  remember  Nesco  cookers. 

The  name  is  a  little  familiar. 

Well,  it  was  an  electric  cooker.  You  could  put  your  meat  in  one 
part  and  your  potatoes  in  another  part  and  vegetables  in  another 
part,  and  they  were  making  lots  of  money  out  of  this.   They  were 
paying  my  aunt  very  well,  and  my  aunt  gave  my  family  a  great  deal 
of  financial  support.  My  father  consulted  his  sister  Selma  about 
what  I  was  going  to  do.   So  he  came  home  on  that  Friday  afternoon 
and  said,  "How  would  you  like  to  go  to  Madison?"  Well,  you  know, 
Madison  was  so  far  beyond  my  hopes,  I  just  said,  "Yeah." 

Had  you  thought  of  it,  or  it  just  never  occurred  to  you? 

I  just  knew  I  couldn't  afford  it.   It  was  eighty-five  miles  away, 
and  the  tuition  was  at  least  thirty-two  dollars  a  semester.   You 
had  to  pay  for  your  own  books,  and  you  had  to  pay  room  and  board, 
and  I  would  have  no  job,  and  how  was  I  going  to  do  it?  I  couldn't 
believe  it.   I  said,  "Yes!" 

The  next  day  I  packed  my  suitcases,  and  on  Sunday  my  father 
drove  me  to  Madison.   I  found  a  nice  room  with  an  older  retired 
couple  for  two  dollars  and  fifty  cents  a  week.   I  found  a  place 
where  I  could  have  my  meals  for  sixty  cents  a  day—ten  cents  for 
breakfast,  twenty- five  cents  for  dinner,  and  twenty- five  cents  for 
lunch--so  the  total  cost  was  something  like  six  dollars  a  week  for 
room  and  board.  My  aunt  was  going  to  pay  part  of  it,  my  father 
and  mother  were  going  to  pay  the  rest. 

So  here  I  was  suddenly  on  a  Sunday  afternoon  in  early 
February  1933,  in  Madison!   Two  days  after  I  thought  the  whole 
thing  was  impossible. 

It  happened  that  fast? 

It  happened  that  fast.   I  went  to  Madison,  and  Monday  morning  I 
went  to  the  registrar's  office.   I  had  to  get  my  transcripts  out. 
My  record  was  so  awful  that  she  said,  "We'll  admit  you,  but  we'll 
admit  you  on  probation.   You've  got  to  do  better  the  first  term, 
or  you're  out."  Madison  then  had  about  6,000  students,  and  I'm 
quite  sure  that  if  it  hadn't  been  for  the  Depression,  they  would 
never  have  taken  me  at  all. 

They  needed  students? 

They  needed  students,  yes.   So  I  said,  "Okay. 








Had  you  discussed  Madison  with  the  history  teacher  you  said  had 
gone  to  Madison  and  had  a  Ph.D.? 

No,  I  hadn't  discussed  it  with  him. 
This  wasn't  an  influence. 

No.   I  didn't  really  discuss  it  with  anyone,  except  my  father  and 

So  I  accepted  the  terms.   I  was  on  probation.   I  had  a  place 
to  live.   Then  two  things  changed.   First,  I  was  away  from  my 
family,  and  I  really  needed  to  get  away  from  my  father,  especially 
my  father,  but  probably  my  whole  family.   The  Depression  made 
things  not  very  pleasant  at  all.   There  were  bad  financial 
problems.   I  needed  to  get  away  from  my  father's  discipline,  so 
this  was  liberating.   I  can  remember  to  this  day  standing  in  the 
street,  watching  my  father's  car  disappear  and  thinking, 
"Liberation!   Freedom!" 

Yet  your  parents  were  the  ones  that  did  make  it  possible. 
They  made  it  possible,  that's  right. 
They  wanted  something  good  for  you. 

Oh,  absolutely,  absolutely.   In  addition  to  that,  I  was  in 
Madison.   "Now,"  I  said,  "I'm  going  to  be  academic,"  so  I  really 
then  got  to  be  a  student.   I  did  well  enough  in  those  years  to  be 
Phi  Beta  Kappa  at  the  end.   My  senior  year  I  got  straight  A's. 

So  you  really  caught  up. 

My  focus  now  was  on  academics,  and  I  was  in  an  academic  community. 
I  had  interesting  professors,  I  had  people  that  really  excited  me. 
I  rarely  had  that  at  Milwaukee  State  Teachers  College,  so  this  was 
the  great  moment,  really. 

Radical  Politics  and  Pacifism 

Stampp:   I  must  tell  you,  though,  about  politics.  My  father  and  my 
grandparents,  my  mother's  parents,  were  all  German  Social 
Democrats.   Milwaukee  had  a  socialist  mayor,  the  mayor  for  twenty- 
four  years,  from  1912,  the  year  I  was  born,  until  1936.   He  served 
six  terms,  this  mayor. 



Stampp : 

What  was  his  name? 



Stampp : 
S  t  ampp : 


Daniel  [Webster]  Hoan.   In  those  twenty-four  years,  there  was 
never  a  breath  of  scandal  or  corruption  in  Milwaukee's  government. 
They  had  the  best  health  department,  the  best  police  department, 
the  best  public  services,  the  best  park  system  you  could  imagine. 
Daniel  Hoan  deserves  a  lot  of  credit  for  it.   He  never  had  a 
socialist  majority  on  the  city  council.  There  was  always  a 
substantial  socialist  contingency  but  never  a  majority.   The  only 
newspaper  we  had  in  our  house  was  the  Milwaukee  Leader  which  was  a 
socialist  newspaper. 

Our  congressman  when  I  was  young  was  Victor  L.  Berger,  a 
socialist.   He  was  the  only  socialist  in  the  United  States  House 
of  Representatives.  My  father  was  an  ardent  supporter  of  Eugene 
B.  Debs  and  voted  for  him. 

Somehow  it  doesn't  seem  to  fit  with  the  evangelical  religion. 

The  Catholics  were  not  necessarily  Social  Democrats.   It  was  the 
Lutherans  and  the  Protestants  who  were.  Anyway,  this  was  a 
socialist  family. 

It  doesn't  seem  to  fit  with  the  small  business  milieu  of  your 

You  mean  my  grandfather  being  a  grocer? 

Right . 

Well,  in  Germany,  a  grocer  could  be  a  Social  Democrat. 

What  did  it  mean  to  be  a  Social  Democrat  in  Germany? 

In  Germany?   They  were  sort  of  reformed  Marxists, 
in  the  socialization  of  the  tools  of  production. 

They  believed 

Hoan's  great  crusade  in  all  those  years  was  to  try  to  take 
over  the  electric  company,  the  Milwaukee  Electric  Light  and  Power 
Company,  or  whatever  it  was  called.  The  socialists  believed, 
certainly,  in  nationalizing  the  railroads,  nationalizing  telegraph 
and  telephone,  nationalizing  the  mines.   How  far  they  would  have 
gone  I  don't  know,  but  certainly  all  those  basic  industries  they 
would  have  socialized. 

Was  it  discussed  in  the  house  a  lot? 

Oh,  yes.   I  can  remember  one  time  driving  home  from  somewhere --and 
this  was  before  I  had  ever  proclaimed  to  my  parents  I  wanted  to  be 


a  history  teacher- -and  my  mother  turned  to  me  and  said,  "What  I 
would  like  you  to  be  is  a  good  socialist  lawyer."   [laughter] 






Yes.   So  my  father  supported  Debs.  Let's  see,  when  was  he  first 
able  to  vote?   I  guess  1904.   He  voted  for  Debs  in  1904,  1908, 
1912.   In  1916  Debs  didn't  run;  another  man  ran,  I  can't  remember 
who  it  was.   Then  came  World  War  I,  and  as  a  Social  Democrat  my 
father  was  bitterly  opposed  to  our  getting  involved  in  World  War 

He  wasn't  against  the  war  as  a  German  descendant? 

No,  in  my  neighborhood  and  among  my  friends,  I  never  heard  any 
pro-German  sentiment.   They  were  opposed  to  the  war.   I  can 
remember  one  time  at  the  dinner  table  my  father  putting  his  fist 
on  the  table  and  saying--and  this  is  socialist  doctrine--"This  is 
an  imperialist  war.   It's  an  imperialist  war.   They're  no  better 
on  one  side  than  the  other,  and  we  have  no  business  getting  into 

And  that  was  widespread  in  the  community? 

Well,  there  was  considerable  sentiment--!  can  remember  my  father 
was  still  working  in  the  post  office  during  the  war.   In  1917  I 
was  five,  and  I  can  remember  this,  that  in  the  post  office  there 
were  lots  of  people  who  were  opposed  to  Wilson's  getting  us 
involved  in  this  war.   Victor  Berger,  our  congressman,  voted 
against  the  declaration  of  war  and  made  his  antiwar  stand  quite 
clear,  so  he  was  expelled  from  Congress.   He  came  back  to 
Milwaukee,  and  he  was  reelected  to  Congress,  but  they  refused  to 
seat  him,  then  he  was  reelected  to  Congress  again.   Finally,  he 
was  seated  about  1923  or  '22,  something  like  that. 

In  1920  when  Eugene  B.  Debs  was  in  prison  because  of  his 
antiwar  sentiment,  he  ran  for  president  on  the  Socialist  ticket  in 
prison,  and  my  father  voted  for  him.   In  1924,  our  senator,  Robert 
M.  LaFollette,  ran  for  president  as  a  Progressive.   The  Socialist 
party  endorsed  LaFollette,  so  my  father  voted  for  LaFollette. 

During  my  two  years  in  Milwaukee  State  Teachers  College-- 
partly  because  of  the  friends  I  had  there  and  partly  because  of 
the  Depression--!  turned  very  radical,  much  more  radical  than  my 
father.   I  went  to  Communist  party  headquarters,  I  attended 
Communist  party  public  meetings.   I  came  very  close  to  joining  the 
Communist  party.   I  wavered  between  the  Socialist  party  and  the 
Communist  party,  and  in  the  end  I  joined  the  Socialist  party 
because  I  was  a  pacifist,  and  at  that  time,  the  Communists  were 


Stampp : 



committed  to  a  revolution,  a  violent  revolution.  As  a  pacifist  I 
could  not  support  the  principle  of  violent  revolution,  and  I 
thought,  "If  you're  not  committed  to  that,  you  can't  join  the 
Communists . " 

So  I  joined  the  Socialist  party,  but  I  must  say  that  during 
the  1930s,  I  was  a  fellow  traveler,  I  really  was.   I  was  disgusted 
with  both  the  Communists  and  the  Socialists  for  spending  so  much 
time  fighting  each  other.   I  would  go  to  a  Communist  meeting,  a 
public  meeting,  and  the  Socialists  would  be  there  heckling  them. 
Then  I  would  go  to  a  Socialist  meeting  and  the  Communists  would  be 
there  heckling  them.   They  each  had  their  own  way  of  singing  the 
International:  one  would  say  "The  International  party  shall  be  the 
whole  human  race,"  and  the  other  said,  "The  International  soviet 
shall  be  the  human  race." 

I  was  very  strongly  pro-Russian,  and  I  can  remember  when  I 
was  at  Milwaukee  State  Teachers  College  listening  to  a  Jewish 
doctor  who  had  just  come  back  from  the  Soviet  Union;  he  talked  to 
us.   The  school  had  Communist  party  meetings  and  the  Young 
Peoples'  Communist  Party  right  in  the  school—it  was  nothing. 
Nobody  was  worked  up  about  it  the  way  we  got  later  on. 

Anyway,  this  doctor  had  just  come  back  from  the  Soviet  Union, 
and  he  said,  "Everything  is  wonderful.   It  really  is  working!"  and 
I  believed  it.   At  lunchtime,  we  used  to  go  down  to  a  basement 
room  and  have  our  bag  lunches  there  and  sit  around,  literally 
plotting  the  revolution,  or  at  least  I  was  listening  to  them 
plotting  the  revolution. 


No,  I  was  sitting  with  some  guys  who  had  joined  the  Communist 
party,  the  Young  Communists,  and  they  would  talk  about  how  they 
could  seize  Washington  and  this  sort  of  thing.   This  was  serious 
stuff,  at  least  it  seemed  terribly  serious  at  that  time. 

Like  a  real  possibility. 

Yes.   So  when  I  left  Milwaukee  State  Teachers  College  and  went  to 
Madison,  I  still  went  regularly  to  Communist  party—Young 
Communists  had  meetings  in  the  student  union. 

Very  openly. 

Oh,  yes,  there  was  nothing  secret  about  this.   They  were  open. 
The  Communist  party  headquarters  in  Milwaukee  was  open.   I  could 
walk  in  and  sit  and  talk  to  people  and  get  their  literature,  and  I 




Stampp ; 

did.   I  can't  ever  remember  anybody  making  any  great  issue  of  it 
at  that  time. 

So  when  I  went  to  Madison,  I  still  was  very  radical  and 
still,  I  thought,  a  fellow  traveler.   Even  when  World  War  II  broke 
out,  I  was—well,  I've  got  a  lot  to  tell  you  about  that—but  I  was 
opposed  to  Roosevelt's  foreign  policy  until  Germany  attacked  the 
Soviet  Union,  and  then  I  switched. 

You  mentioned  being  a  pacifist, 

Did  that  grow  out  of  the  family 

I  don't  know  how  I  got  to  be  a  pacifist,  but  I  read  a  lot  of 
pacifist  literature  when  I  was  at  Milwaukee  State  Teachers 
College.   I  can  remember  a  pacifist  named  Kirby  Page,  and  I  can't 
remember  the  title  of  his  book,  but  he  had  quite  an  impact  on  me. 
So  I  was  a  Socialist,  I  was  a  pacifist.   I  can  remember  when  I  got 
to  Madison  there  was  an  officers'  club  of  the  ROTC  [Reserve 
Officers'  Training  Corps] --you  know  what  the  ROTC  is.   They  used 
to  have  a  military  ball  every  spring.   I  remember  one  year 
participating  in  a  pacifist  parade,  helping  to  build  a  pacifist 
float  to  protest  against  this—the  Scabbard  and  Blade,  that  was 
the  name  of  this  military  group  at  that  time. 

What  were  your  attitudes  towards  the  New  Deal? 

When  I  was  old  enough  to  vote— and  the  first  time  was  in  1936--I 
voted  for  Norman  Thomas.   To  me,  Roosevelt  was  not  nearly  radical 
enough.   He  was  simply  bolstering  the  capitalist  system,  and  that 
didn't  interest  me.   On  the  other  hand,  in  the  election  of  1936 
when  Roosevelt  ran  against  Alf  Landon,  I  was  hoping,  hoping  that 
Roosevelt  would  win. 

Would  win  over  Landon.   I  thought  maybe  you  wanted  a  disaster. 

No,  no,  I  wasn't  that  kind  of  a  nihilist  where  I  would  say, 
"Everything's  got  to  go  to  hell  before  it  can  get  better."  No,  I 
wanted  Roosevelt  to  win  the  election. 

In  Milwaukee  State  Teachers  College,  incidentally,  in  1932, 
we  had  a  big  forum.   This  was  the  whole  college.   Of  four  members 
of  the  faculty,  one  supported  William  C.  Foster,  the  Communist 
party's  candidate;  one  supported  Norman  Thomas,  that  was  my 
history  teacher;  one  supported  Roosevelt;  and  one  economist 
supported  Hoover.   We  had  a  student  straw  poll,  and  Roosevelt  came 
in  first,  Norman  Thomas  came  in  second,  William  C.  Foster  came  in 
third,  and  Hoover  came  in  fourth. 


Was  Thomas  a  close  second  or  a  distant  second? 


Stampp:   I  can't  remember,  but  I  remember  the  result:  Roosevelt  first, 

Thomas  second,  Foster  third,  and  Hoover--there  were  just  no  Hoover 
supporters  in  that  school.   It  was  really  a  proletarian 

Lage:  Yes,  even  though  you  hated  it. 
Stampp:  Well,  I  liked  that  part  of  it. 
Lage:  You  liked  the  politics. 

Stampp:   I  liked  my  lunches  and  the  meetings  there.   I  had  a  couple  of 
romances,  too,  that  made  it  bearable,  but  my  interests  were 
elsewhere  at  that  time--I  spent  my  time  writing  the  great  American 

Lage:    Have  you  finished  it? 

Stampp:   I  think  I  wrote  seven  or  eight  chapters  of  it,  and  mercifully  the 
manuscript  has  long  since  disappeared. 


WISCONSIN,  1933-1941 

[Interview  10:  January  21,  1997]  II1 

The  Madison  Campus  in  the  Thirties 

Lage:    We  left  you  just  starting  out  at  the  University  of  Wisconsin  in 
1933.  What  was  Madison  like  in  the  thirties? 

Stampp:   I  still  feel  very  nostalgic  about  Madison  in  the  1930s.   I  went 

out  there  in  February  of  1933  as  the  American  economy  seemed  to  be 
in  total  collapse,  the  banks  were  collapsing,  and  there  was  a 
wonderful  atmosphere  at  the  very  beginning.   Roosevelt  closed  the 
banks  right  after  his  inauguration,  and  suddenly  we  were  all 
broke;  nobody  had  any  money.   The  restaurants  where  I  started  to 
eat,  and  where  others  had  eaten  for  a  while,  began  letting  us  eat 
on  credit.   It  didn't  last  very  long,  but  there  was  just  that 
feeling—like  some  great  disaster  where  suddenly  all  the  good 
that's  in  everybody  comes  out,  and-- 

Lage:    So  there  was  a  sense  of  community? 

Stampp:   A  sense  of  community,  and  we're  all  in  the  same  boat,  and  so  on. 

Lage:    That  must  have  been  nice,  especially  since  you  were  coming  with  so 
little  in  the  way  of  financial  support. 

Stampp:   That's  right.   I  mean,  they  were  suddenly  down  at  my  level, 
[laughter]   Most  of  them. 

Madison,  I  think,  in  1933  must  have  had  a  population  of  about 
75,000.   It  was  an  interesting  and  beautiful  city.   It  was  the 
state  capital,  of  course,  so  there  was  the  whole  political 

'Interview  10  was  a  make-up  session  to  replace  the  material  covered  in 
Interview  2  which  was  lost  due  to  a  recording  malfunction. 


structure  of  the  state  there,  as  well  as  the  university.   There 
were  no  other  campuses  at  that  time;  it  was  Madison,  and  there  was 
a  whole  network  of  state  teachers  colleges,  but  no  other  branch  of 
the  university. 

The  student  population  was  about  6,000,  and  the  student  body 
then  was  certainly  not  like  Madison  now.   Very  few  black  students. 
I  can't  remember  any  Hispanic  students;  there  must  have  been  some, 
but  I  can't  remember  them.   Quite  a  number  of  students  came  from 
the  East  Coast.  At  that  time,  some  of  those  states  didn't  have 
state  universities,  and  Madison  was  a  good  deal.   I  don't  know 
what  out-of- state  fees  were,  but  mine  were  thirty-two  dollars  a 
semester.   I'm  sure  that  out-of-state  fees  weren't  very  high. 

Lage:    It  was  probably  cheaper  than  going  to  a  private  college  closer  to 
home . 

Stampp:   Yes.   And  quite  a  number  of  bright  Jewish  students  from  the  East 
Coast  came  to  Madison,  not  only  in  graduate  school,  but  quite  a 
few  of  them  as  undergraduates,  as  well  as  a  great  number  of  them 
in  graduate  school.   The  campus  was  spacious,  lots  of  open  space, 
right  on  the  edge  of  Lake  Mendota.   It's  not  that  way  any  more. 
All  the  space  has  been  filled  with  buildings.   The  last  time  I 
went  there,  I  was  appalled  at  what  had  happened.   The  student  body 
now  is  somewhere  between  35,000  and  40,000. 

Lage:    They  let  it  grow  larger  than  Berkeley  did. 

Stampp:   They  let  it  grow,  right,  and  it  was  only  relatively  recently, 

post-World  War  II,  really  the  sixties,  when  they  began  opening  new 
campuses.   The  University  of  Wisconsin,  Milwaukee,  was  Milwaukee 
State  Teachers  College,  and  then  it  was  converted  into  a  campus. 
And  there's  a  scattering  of  campuses  all  over  the  state  now. 

Wisconsin's  faculty  was  very  good,  probably  one  of  the  best 
faculties  in  what  we  always  called  the  Big  Ten,  you  know,  the 
Midwestern  universities—Michigan,  Minnesota,  Iowa,  Illinois, 
Ohio,  Indiana,  so  on. 

Lage:    Is  this  across  the  board,  or  in  history? 

Stampp:   Well,  they  had  a  very  good  agricultural  school.   They  had  a  good 
economics  department.  The  history  department  had  a  very  good 
reputation.   The  university  faculty  was  never  very  well  paid.   The 
legislature  was  always  rather  stingy.   The  state  was  largely 
agricultural,  and  fairly  con--it's  funny;  I  was  going  to  say 
conservative,  although  the  LaFollette  progressive  tradition  was 
very  strong  there.   But  as  far  as  subsidizing  the  university  is 
concerned,  the  legislature  was  rather  stingy. 


I  think  it  was  partly  the  result  of  rural  conservatism  and 
suspicion  of  the  university  as  a  rather  freewheeling,  radical 
place,  and  then  a  very  strong  contingency  of  legislators  from 
Milwaukee,  many  of  them  Catholics,  whose  loyalty  really  was  to 
Marquette  University,  a  private  Catholic  institution.   So  the 
university  had  trouble  hanging  on  to  faculty,  because  the  salary 
scale  was  not  very  good.   But  they  had  some  very  distinguished 
people  there,  and  I  was  impressed  at  the  time  with  the  history 

John  Hicks  was  the  senior  man  in  American  history.   He  had 
come  from  the  University  of  Nebraska  to  Madison  just  a  year  or  two 
before  I  got  there.  My  mentor,  William  B.  Hesseltine,  had  come 
from  the  University  of  Chattanooga  just  the  year  before.   He  was 
really  a  replacement  for  Carl  Russell  Fish,  who  died  in  1932,  who 
had  been  a  fairly  distinguished  American  historian  in  Western 
history  and  recent  American  history.   Hicks  was  a  replacement  for 
Frederic  Paxson,  who  left  Wisconsin  to  take  a  chair  at  Berkeley. 

Hesseltine  was  a  young  man  of  about  thirty-two  or  thirty- 
three,  a  strange-looking  man.   He  must  have  been  about  five  feet 
five,  rather  rotund,  with  a  gravelly,  deep  voice,  always  having  an 
underslung,  sort  of  Sherlock  Holmes,  pipe  in  his  mouth.   In  some 
ways,  a  rather  frightening  person,  rather  intimidating  person,  but 
very  stimulating. 

I  confronted  him  almost  immediately.   I  was  assigned  to  him 
as  my  advisor.  As  an  advisor,  he  was  utterly  worthless.   He  had 
just  arrived  the  semester  before  I  did,  and  he  told  me  he  didn't 
know  anything  about  university  administration,  and  so  I  pretty 
much  handled  my  own  advising  or  got  help  from  others. 

Lage:    When  you  say  you  confronted  him,  you  mean  you-- 

Stampp:   I  was  sent  to  him.   I  was  sent  to  him  so  that  he  could  advise  me 

about  courses  I  should  take,  and  I  sort  of  worked  that  out  myself. 
I  made  a  few  mistakes  that  I  had  to  remedy  later  on  about  courses 
I  was  supposed  to  take  and  didn't. 

I  was  a  major  in  history,  but  I  was  also  trying  to  get  a 
teaching  credential.   I  still  wanted  to  teach  high  school.   So  I 
had  to  take  quite  a  number  of  courses  in  the  School  of  Education- 
History  of  Education,  Secondary  Education,  one  terrible  course  I 
remember  called  Diagnostic  and  Remedial  Teaching,  which  I  found 
almost  worthless.   The  best  part  of  that  was  practice  teaching, 
which  I  did  in  my  senior  year  at  the  University  High  School. 

Do  you  want  me  to  talk  about  Madison,  the  way  it  was  at  that 


Lage:    I  think  it  would  be  interesting  to  get  a  picture  of  that. 

Stampp:   Well,  I  came  from  a  much  bigger  city,  but  Madison  to  me  was  much 
more  exciting.  The  university  was  a  tremendous  influence  on  this 
relatively  small  city,  and  then  the  state  capital  was  there,  and 
state  politics  in  the  1930s  was  very  interesting,  and  the 
LaFollette  brothers  were  there.   Phil  LaFollette  was  governor  part 
of  the  time  that  I  was  there,  and  his  brother  [Robert  M.]  was  in 
the  United  States  Senate  and  would  stay  there  until  he  was  finally 
defeated  by  McCarthy  in  the  forties. 

Lage:    Did  the  students  have  an  awareness  of  the  politics  going  on  in  the 

Stampp:   Oh,  yes.   The  atmosphere  was  progressive  and  liberal.   I'm  sure 
there  were  plenty  of  conservative  students  there,  but  the 
atmosphere  was  very  liberal.   There  weren't  many  critics  of  the 
New  Deal  from  the  right;  there  were  lots  of  them  from  the  left, 
where  I  stood  at  that  time. 

I  remember  a  northern  Wisconsin  politician  named  John  B. 
Chappell.   He  was  the  editor  of  a  newspaper  in  some  small  city  in 
northern  Wisconson,  and  was  really  a  McCarthy  born  twenty  years 
too  soon.   He  ran  for  governor  or  United  States  Senate;  I  think  it 
was  the  Senate,  and  he  went  around  the  state  mouthing  right-wing 
generalities  about  the  university  and  about  the  country,  and  he 
was  sort  of  the  laughing-stock.   The  students  loved  to  turn  out 
when  he  came  to  Madison  and  just  laugh  while  he  spoke  about 
communism  on  the  campus,  and  free  love,  and-- 

Lage:    Wow,  it  sounds  so  modern. 

Stampp:   Yes,  yes.   His  line  was  really  like  McCarthy's  later.   The  one 
difference  was  that  McCarthy  never  attacked  the  University  of 
Wisconsin.   I  don't  understand  why  not,  but  he  didn't.   He  left 
the  university  alone.   Chappell  used  the  university  as  sort  of  his 
focus  of  what's  wrong  with  society,  and  it  all  had  to  do  with 
communism  and  sexual  promiscuity  at  the  university.   He  was  just 
funny.   The  students  loved  to  come  out  and  listen  to  him,  but  he 
got  nowhere  in  politics.   He  would  have  been  wonderful  twenty 
years  later,  I  suppose. 

Professors  Hesseltine.  Nettels.  Otto,  and  Perlman 

Lage:    Tell  me  more  about  Hesseltine  and  other  faculty  members  at  Madison 
who  may  have  influenced  you. 





Stampp:   I  had  no  doubt  after  meeting  Hesseltine  that  he  was  the  man  I 

wanted  to  work  with. 

And  what  attracted  you  to  him? 

Well,  he  was  the  most  dynamic  American  historian  there.   Perhaps 
not  the  most  profound,  but  certainly  the  most  dynamic.   Hicks,  by 
comparison,  was  rather  drab.   I  always  thought  of  him  as  the  man 
in  grey;  his  complexion  was  sort  of  grey,  and  he  wore  grey  suits. 
There  was  a  certain  quiet  charm  about  him,  and  I  took  courses  from 
him  in  Western  history  and  recent  American  history.   But 
Hesseltine,  the  first  course  I  took  from  him  was  American 
constitutional  history,  and  he  was  a  Beardian.   One  of  the  first 
things  he  had  us  read  was  Beard's  economic  interpretation  of  the 
constitution,  and  in  those  Marxist  days,  this  made  sense  to  me. 

That  was  your  first  exposure  to  Beard? 

No,  I  had  used  Beard--my  professor  at  Milwaukee  State  Teachers 
College  had  used  Beard's  Rise  of  American  Civilization  as  our 
textbook,  so  I  knew  about  Beard,  but  1  had  not  read  his  economic 
interpretation  of  the  constitution,  or  his  economic  interpretation 
of  Jeffersonian  democracy.   The  way  he  explained  the  framing  of 
the  constitution  was  largely  in  terms  of  the  economic  interests  of 
the  delegates  to  the  Constitutional  Convention:  how  many  bonds 
they  owned,  and  how  much  land  they  owned,  and  their  mercantile 
interests,  and  so  on.   That  to  him  seemed  a  sufficient  explanation 
for  the  counter-revolution. 

Hesseltine  bought  it,  and  he  sold  it.   I  was  convinced  that 
this  was  a  satisfactory  explanation  for  the  nature  of  the 
constitution  and  for  the  motives  of  its  framers. 

He  had  a  wonderful  lecture  style.   He  was  witty,  he  was 
clever,  his  lectures  were  full  of  humor.   Challenging,  sometimes 
outrageous  generalizations.   But  I  was  rather  young  and  naive 
then,  and  he  seemed  to  me  awfully  exciting. 

Did  he  allow  you  to  challenge  his  outrageous  generalizations? 
encourage  refinement? 


There  was  no  discussion  in  these  lectures.   He  lectured,  and  we 
listened.   For  a  while,  I  was  scared  to  death  of  him.   I  thought 
he  was  wonderful,  but  I  was  afraid  of  him. 

The  next  term,  in  the  fall,  1  started  taking  his  year  course 
in  the  history  of  the  old  South  and  the  sectional  conflict  and 
Civil  War  and  Reconstruction,  and  that's  what  really  excited  me. 
He  was  a  southerner  himself;  he  came  from  Virginia,  but  he  was  a 


kind  of  southern  maverick  at  the  time.   He  always  claimed  that  the 
men  who  ran  the—and  they  were  men  at  that  time,  mostly—the 
Southern  Historical  Association  would  have  nothing  to  do  with  him. 
He  was  never  elected  president  of  the  Southern  Historical 
Association,  and  he  claimed  that  it  was  because  he  was  just  too 
much  of  a  rebel. 

Lage:    What  other  faculty  made  an  impression? 

Stampp:   Curtis  Nettels  taught  a  course  in  American  economic  history  and  a 
course  in  American  colonial  history.   He  was  essentially  a 
colonialist.   I  took  both  his  economic  history  course  and  his 
colonial  history  course.   I  was  offering  colonial  history  as  one 
of  my  five  fields.   Nettels,  when  I  first  encountered  him,  I  think 
it  was  in  his  economic  history  course,  was  a  disciple  of  Frederick 
Jackson  Turner.   His  interpretation  of  American  economic  growth 
was  basically  a  Turnerian  one,  with  the  emphasis  on  the  West  and 
economic  stimulus  that  the  West  and  the  settlement  of  the  West 
gave  to  the  whole  American  economy. 

In  the  summer,  I  think  it  was  the  summer  of  1934,  Curtis 
Nettels  was  converted  to  Marxism,  and  I  won't  go  into  detail.   A 
scholar  named  Lewis  Hacker,  who  was  a  Marxist,  came  to  Madison 
that  summer  and  influenced  him.   The  following  year,  I  took  his 
American  colonial  history,  and  it  was  a  Marxist  interpretation  of 
American  colonial  history.   By  the  end  of  the  thirties  Nettels  had 
abandoned  his  Marxism. 

Lage:    So  this  was  a  passing  few  years. 

Stampp:   Yes,  he  went  from  his  Turnerian  interpretation  of  history  to  Marx, 
and  he  left  Madison  to  go  to  Cornell  about  1941,  '42,  and  by  that 
time,  he'd  abandoned  his  Marxism.   So  it  was  a  passing  phase,  but 
at  the  time,  I  was  very  impressed  with  his  interpretation.   He  was 
writing  a  textbook  on  American  colonial  history,  and  though  not  in 
any  really  overt  way,  you  could  get  the  undertone  of  Marxism 
through  the  book. 

I  liked  Nettels  and  found  his  course  very  stimulating,  but 
personally,  he  was  a  rather  difficult  person.   Very  shy,  and  when 
one  encountered  him,  it  was  always  very  difficult,  because  one 
never  knew  how  to  terminate  a  conversation  with  him.   There  were 
always  awkward  pauses.   But  he  was  one  of  the  really  good  people 
that  I  studied  with. 

Lage:    Did  his  enthusiasm  for  Marxism  have  an  effect  on  you? 



Stampp : 




Well,  I  was  a  Marxist  already,  so  he  was  simply  a  historian  who 
had  seen  the  light  that  I  presumably  had  seen  several  years 

Hesseltine  would  be  rather  hard  to  classify.   He  was  a 
Beardian,  I  think;  he  was  never  a  Marxist.   He  was  always  very 
strongly  anticommunist,  as  a  matter  of  fact.   He  was  a  member  of 
the  Socialist  party,  and  like  most  socialists,  hated  the 

He  was  rather  hard  to  classify.  A  Beardian,  I  guess,  is  as 
close  as  you  could  get  to  giving  him  a  label  at  that  time. 

Let's  see,  you  mentioned  Max  Otto  to  me,  and  your  philosophy 


Well,  yes.   I  remember  Max  Otto  as  one  of  the—Wisconsin  did  have 
a  reputation  among  conservatives  as  being  a  radical  institution, 
and  it  didn't  deserve  it.   The  faculty  was  not  terribly  radical. 
Max  Otto  was  one  of  the  mavericks  who  was  thought  of  as  a  radical, 
along  with  John  R.  Commons,  who  had  retired  by  this  time  and  had 
been  merely  an  advocate  of  trade  unionism,  an  AF  of  L  trade 
unionist,  rather  conservative.   There  was  a  handful  of  sort  of 
maverick  professors  there,  among  whom  was  Max  Otto  in  the 
Philosophy  Department,  who  taught  a  famous  course  called  Man  and 
Nature,  which  I  took  and  enjoyed  very  much.   It  ranged  over  a 
whole  variety  of  philosophical  problems,  and  somehow,  it  even  got 
into  evolution.   Being  Max  Otto,  he  even  challenged  the  theory  of 
evolution  and  made  us  think  about  the  flaws  in  the  argument. 

Did  he  have  a  replacement  theory? 
Bible  or— 

He  wasn't  going  back  to  the 

No.   What  he  was  doing  was  challenging  his  students,  who  almost 
universally  accepted  the  theory  of  evolution  as  the  origin  of 
species.   He  just  wanted  them  to  think  about  it  a  bit  more.   So  he 
raised  a  lot  of  questions.   So  here's  this  man  who  has  a 
reputation  for  radicalism  making  us  think  about- -and  in  a 
relatively  conservative  way—about  evolution. 

When  you  say  man  and  nature,  I  think  about  Aldo  Leopold,  who  I 
think  was  on  the  campus  then. 

I  didn't  know  him  at  all.   I  knew  Commons's  successor,  Selig 
Perlman,  who  was  sort  of  a  disciple  of  John  R.  Commons  and  a 
strong  believer  in  trade  unionism,  which  was  a  very  conservative 
kind  of  unionism  at  that  time.   He  accepted  Commons's  idea  that 
American  labor  was  not  class-conscious,  that  the  only  successful 
way  to  organize  American  labor  was  in  skilled  craft  unions— in 

other  words,  industrial  workers  in  mass  production  industries  they 
apparently  felt  weren't  likely  to  be  good  material  for  labor 

Lage:    These  men  were  not  Marxists. 

Stampp:   Oh,  heavens  no,  heavens  no.  Actually,  I  took  a  field  with  Selig 
Perlman,  it  was  something  called  Socialism  and  Capitalism,  and 
read  a  lot  of  Lenin  and  Marx,  and  also  their  critics.   But  what  I 
got  from  Selig  Perlman  was  the  position  that  the  whole  Marxist 
intellectual  edifice  simply  didn't  apply  to  the  United  States. 
The  United  States  was  very  different.  American  labor  was  not 
class-conscious.   I  know  it  was  during  the  thirties  when  I  was 
taking  Selig  Perlman1 s  lecture  course  and  then  a  seminar  with  him, 
the  CIO  began  organizing  industrial  workers,  and  I  can  remember 
him  saying,  "It  just  isn't  going  to  be  successful."  He  had  a  very 
thick  Polish- Jewish  accent,  and  he  would--!  remember  him  one  day 
talking  about  the  CIO  saying,  "It  von't  verk;  it's  a  flash  in  the 
pan.   It  simply  von't  verk."   [laughter] 

Lage:    Was  he  convincing?  Here  you  came  with  a  Marxist  outlook  and-- 

Starapp:   No,  he  wasn't  convincing.   I  mean,  what  was  happening  in  labor  at 
the  time,  in  the  automobile  industry,  in  the  steel  industry,  in 
the  coal  industry  and  so  on,  it  was--it  was  really  undermining  the 
whole  Commons-Perlman  theory  of  the  labor  movement  in  the  United 

Lage:    Right  before  their  eyes,  and  your  eyes. 

Stampp:   Yes.   In  1933  when  I  first  went  to  Madison,  I  had  to  take  a  survey 
course  in  economics,  introduction  to  economics.   It  was  taught  by 
a  classical  economist  by  the  name  of  [William  Henry]  Kiekhofer. 
Here  the  banking  system  was  in  virtual  collapse,  Roosevelt  was 
introducing  and  getting  Congress  to  pass  a  lot  of  New  Deal 
measures .  And  I  went  through  the  whole  term  without  the  man  ever 
referring  to  Roosevelt,  teaching  a  standard  course  in  classical 
economics,  just  as  if  he  was  unaware  of  what  was  going  on  in  the 
world  around  him  at  the  time.   It  was  an  amazing  thing.   And  I 
remember,  this  was  a  big  lecture  course,  and  like  our  big  courses 
at  Berkeley,  it  was  broken  up  into  discussion  sessions  once  a 
week.  My  teaching  assistant  was  a  socialist.   [laughs]   It  was  in 
our  discussion  sections  that  we  talked  about  what  was  going  on  in 
the  world,  not  in  the  lectures. 

It  was  a  very  liberal  group  of  students  in  my  discussion 
section.   I  remember  one  Republican  in  the  class,  a  member  of  an 
Iowa  family  that  manufactured  Maytag  washing  machines.   He  was  the 
one  dissenter  in  that  class. 

Depression  Era  Students  at  Wisconsin 

Lage:    Were  there  contrasts  or  comparisons  with  the  classrooms  here  in 
Berkeley  in  the  sixties,  and  the  Vietnam  era  in  particular  I'm 
thinking  about,  where  I  remember  students  thinking  that  the 
classroom  studies  weren't  relevant  to  all  this  turmoil  going  on 

Stampp:   Yes.   There's  a  major  difference.  Madison  was  a  much  more  open 
place,  and  the  times  were  different  too.   I  came  out  here  after 
the  war,  of  course.   But  the  young  communists  met  in  the  student 
union  at  Madison.   They  had  open  meetings;  I  used  to  go  to  them. 
And  the  socialists  had  their  meetings;  well,  the  socialists  aren't 
all  that  dangerous  anyway.  And  I  used  to  be  appalled  at  the  time 
the  Communists  and  Socialists  wasted  attacking  each  other,  and 
having  their  own  ways  of  singing  "The  International,"  and  trying 
to  outshout  each  other.   But-- 

Lage:    There  was  more  freedom  of  speech? 

Stampp:   Much  more  freedom  of  speech.   All  of  these  meetings  took  place  in 
a  wonderful  student  union. 

Stampp:   And  when  I  came  out  here,  to  Berkeley,  communists  were  not  allowed 
to  speak  on  campus.   This  no-communist  rule  was  adopted  about  1940 
here,  if  I  remember  correctly.   It  was  pre-World  War  II  I  know, 
and  it  was  still  in  force  in  the  forties  and  fifties. 

Lage:    I  was  thinking  also  of  the  Vietnam  era  protests,  and  ethnic 

studies  protests,  where  students  complained  that  classes  were 
irrelevant,  almost. 

Stampp:   No,  I  don't  think  that  was  the  feeling  at  Wisconsin.   You  know, 

the  Depression  had  the  effect  of--I  think  most  students  felt  very 
lucky  to  be  going  to  the  university  at  this  time.   Jobs  were  hard 
to  find,  there  was  massive  unemployment,  and  there  was  a  kind  of 
academic  seriousness  about  students,  compared  to,  say,  the  1950s 
here,  where  it  seemed  to  me  that,  with  the  country  relatively 
prosperous,  there  wasn't  that  kind  of  student  anxiety.   In  the 
thirties,  students  were  wondering,  What  are  you  going  to  do  when 
you  get  out  of  the  university?  Especially  in  the  field  that  I  was 
in.   I  intended  to  go  into  teaching,  and  there  just  were  no 
teaching  jobs,  or  there  were  hardly  any. 

There  was  no  war  to  protest  against,  at  least  in  the  early 
thirties.   There  were  nothing  like  the  Vietnam  protests  of  the 


sixties.   There  were  antimilitary  protests;  there  were  lots  of 
students  who  resented  having  the  ROTC  on  the  campus,  the  Reserve 
Officers  Training  Program.   I  believe  I  told  you  about  taking  part 
in  a  peace  parade  on  the  evening  that  the  officers  of  the  ROTC  had 
their  military  ball.  A  friend  of  mine  and  I  prepared  a  float  for 
this  peace  parade.   There  was  an  organization  called  Scabbard  and 
Blade,  which  was  an  organization  of  the  officers  of  the  ROTC, 
student  officers. 

Lage:    I  don't  remember  your  talking  about  this. 

Stampp:   They  always  had  a  big  ball  in  the  student  union  once  a  year,  and 

that's  what  we  were  protesting  against.  Lots  of  indignation  about 
the  involvement  of  the  United  States  in  the  First  World  War. 
These  were  the  years  of  revelations  about  the  alleged  roles  of 
bankers  and  armament  manufacturers,  the  "merchants  of  death,"  and 
of  British  propaganda  in  getting  the  U.S.  involved  in  the  war.   I 
remember  a  book  called  Words  that  Won  the  War,  about  the  insidious 
maneuverings  and  machinations  of  pro-British  propagandists  in  the 
United  States.   It  was  a  time  of  real  disillusionment  about  our 
involvement  in  the  First  World  War,  particularly  in  view  of  what 
was  going  on  in  Europe  then,  the  rise  of  Hitler  and  Mussolini  and 
so  on.   The  famous  Nye  Committee  was  investigating;  I  remember 
hearing  [Senator  Gerald  P.]  Nye  speak  and  being  tremendously 
impressed  at  what  he  had  to  say  about  how  we  got  into  the  war  and 
how  the  special  interests  were  responsible  for  it.   The  general 
feeling  was,  Never  again.   That's  when  the  neutrality  legislation 
was  being  passed  by  Congress  and  approved,  probably  somewhat 
reluctantly,  by  Roosevelt. 

But  this  didn't  lead  to  great  demonstrations.   I  can't  think 
of  anything  like  the  Vietnam  protests  here.   Certainly  there  was, 
to  the  best  of  my  knowledge,  no  major  movement  of  protest  against 
the  university  itself.   The  university  was  sacrosanct;  I  mean, 
this  was  one  of  the  good  things  about  American  society  at  that 
time.   The  idea  that  we're  going  to  bring  the  whole  university 
down  and,  you  know,  the  things  that  happened  here  in  the  1960s, 
that  just  didn't  happen.   It  wasn't  happening  anywhere. 

Lage:    They  didn't  focus  on  the  university  as  the  evil-- 

Stampp:   They  didn't  focus  on  the  universities  themselves.   I  mean,  you 

might  grumble  about  one  thing  or  another  about  the  university,  but 
the  idea  that  the  students  ought  to  run  the  universities  or  have 
representation  on  the  board  of  regents,  I  think  that  these  were-- 
[ laughter] 

Lage:     It  wouldn't  have  occurred  to  you. 

Stampp:  These  were  ideas  that  never  occurred  to  us  at  that  time. 

Lage:  Did  people  attack  the  regents  for  being  wealthy--? 

Stampp:  No. 

Lage:  You  didn't  apply  a  Beardian  interpretation  to  the  university. 

Stampp:   I  can't  remember  any- -the  regents  were  pretty  loyal  to  the 

university  and  did  their  best  to  get  appropriations  from  the  state 
legislature.   There  was  a  lot  of  unhappiness  about  the 
legislature's  behavior,  but  that  simply  wasn't  the  time  for  an 
attack  on  the  structure  of  the  university  itself. 

Lage:    Or  the  educational  system.   It  sounds  like  you  still  had  the 
seriousness  of  purpose  about  your  studies. 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  remember,  as  far  as  the  history  graduate  program  was 

concerned,  students  feeling  that  the  examinations  were  inhuman, 
and  we  might  have  thought,  well,  if  we  ran  the  department,  this 
would  change.   You  know,  students  would  have  feelings  about  one 
professor  or  another,  but  I  can't  remember  lumping  the  history 
faculty  together  and  saying,  "We  ought  to  have  major  changes 
here."  I  really  can't  think  of  an  occasion  in  the  1930s  when 
there  was  a  protest  of  any  kind  against  the  university. 

The  Fraternity  Experience,  and  a  Romance 

Stampp : 

You  mentioned  to  me  that  you  had  joined  a  fraternity, 
that  experience  like? 

What  was 

Well,  that's  a  phase  of  my  life  that  I've  thought  about  a  lot. 
Everything  in  my  political  orientation  would  have  indicated  that  I 
would  have  nothing  to  do  with  fraternities,  and  when  I  went  to 
Madison,  I  didn't  know  much  about  fraternity  life.   In  the  fall  of 
1933--my  second  semester  at  Madison--in  a  lecture  course  I  sat 
next  to  a  young  man  whose  name  I  can't  remember.  We  got  to  know 
each  other  and  talk  about  the  course  and  whatnot.   He  invited  me 
suddenly  one  day  to  come  and  have  dinner  at  his  fraternity  house. 
I  did,  and  the  fraternity  house  was  located  on  Lake  Mendota  on 
Langdon  Street,  which  was  where  all  the  fraternities  and 
sororities  were  located. 

It  was  really  very  impressive.   It  was  a  big,  beautiful 
house,  right  on  the  lake,  and  I  was  impressed.   I  guess 
fraternities  were  in  a  bad  way  at  that  time,  too,  because  I 





certainly  wasn't,  as  I  think  of  it,  the  material  that  fraternities 
were  ordinarily  looking  for. 

Anyway,  I  went  and  had  dinner,  and  was  invited  back  a  second 
time,  and  several  of  the  members  of  the  fraternity  sat  with  me  in 
a  room  somewhere  and  asked  me  if  I'd  like  to  pledge.   I  said,  "I 
can't  afford  it." 

Was  it  a  pretty  expensive  commitment? 

Well,  it  was  more  expensive  than  living  as  I  was  living  before. 
But  somehow,  I  got  interested,  I  thought  this  would  be  a  great 
place  to  live,  and—not  that  the  interests  of  these  fraternity 
brothers  were  exactly  the  interests  of  mine.  None  of  them  shared 
my  interest  in  classical  music.   They  were  less  academically 
oriented  than  I  was.   But  there  was  something  in  me,  maybe  it  grew 
out  of  my  own  background,  that  made  me  think  this  would  be  a  thing 
I'd  like  to  do. 

And  so  I  got  in  touch,  not  with  my  parents  but  with  my  aunt 
Selma,  and  told  her  how  much  extra  it  would  cost.   It  sounds  like 
a  trivial  amount  now,  but  at  that  time,  it  was  a  lot.   I  think  it 
was  something  like  seventeen  dollars  a  month  more.   I  told  her  it 
was  Theta  Xi  fraternity.   Incidentally,  it  was  not  one  of  the  most 
distinguished  fraternities  by  any  means.   She  got  in  touch  with 
her  employers,  that  famous  Keikhafer  family  that  I  spoke  of,  and 
they  thought  it  would  be  a  good  idea. 

Interesting  that  they  were  kind  of  watching  after  you. 

Yes.  And  so  she  wrote  back  and  said  she'd  send  me  the  extra 
money,  so  I  joined.  My  roommate,  Bob  Baldwin,  joined  also;  they 
brought  him  to  dinner.   So  we  joined  together  and  continued  to  be 
roommates  there.  And  I  must  say,  I  did  enjoy  it.   I  enjoyed  the 
dances  and  parties.   It  was  a  way  to  relax  on  weekends.   So  I 
really  had  two  lives  out  there.   There  was  this  social  life 
through  the  fraternity,  and  then  my  academic  life  with  a  whole 
different  set  of  friends. 

And  what  about  your  political  life? 

My  political  life  was  the  same.  It  was  while  I  was  a  member  of 
the  fraternity  that  I--in  fact,  it  was  another  young  man  at  the 
fraternity  who,  with  me,  organized  or  built  that  peace  float. 

Oh,  I  see,  so  you  weren't  the  only  one  who  had  radical  political 





There  was  one  other  in  that  fraternity  house  who  shared  my  views, 
but  the  rest  of  them  by  and  large  didn't.   There  were  Democrats 
among  them,  but  none  of  them  had  the  radical  orientation.   I  was 
always  kind  of  a  maverick  in  the  fraternity.   They  thought  I  was 
kind  of  odd.   I  was  getting  very  good  grades,  and  the  fraternities 
always  got  reports  of  how  the  members  were  doing  academically,  and 
I  was  always  the  top  member  of  the  fraternity. 

So  you  were  helping  their  grade  average. 

Well,  I  was,  and  ultimately  I  was  elected  president  of  the 
fraternity.   I  was  president  for  my  last  term  out  there,  and  I  was 
in  charge—this  was  a  terrible  mistake--!  was  in  charge  one  term 
of  finding  new  pledges  for  the  fraternity,  and  I  was  not  very  good 
at  that.   But  it  was  a  funny  part  of  my  life,  and  when  I 
graduated,  that  was  it.   I've  never  had  anything  to  do  with  the 
fraternity  since  then. 

Do  you  think  it  had  an  influence  on  you  of  a  lasting  nature? 

Perhaps,  in  one  way.   I  think  that  I  was  kind  of  a  reserved,  shy 
person;  I  think  it  helped  me  in  a  way  to  learn  how  to  deal  with 
people,  different  kinds  of  people.   I  think  that  was  the  lasting 
benefit.   Somehow  fraternities  always  keep  track  of  their  members. 
I  have  no  idea  how  they  found  out  where  I  lived.   When  I  move,  I 
never  tell  them.   But  the  Theta  Xi  fraternity  chapter  in  Berkeley 
finally  was  notified  that  I  was  here,  and  so  some  time  in  the 
fifties,  the  fraternity  invited  me  to  come  to  dinner,  and  they 
asked  me  to  talk- -it  was  near  the  beginning  of  the  integration 
controversy.   They  asked  me  to  talk  to  them  about  segregation  in 
Alabama,  something  like  that.   I  said,  "No,  I  don't  want  to  talk 
to  you  about  that.   I'll  talk  about  segregation  in  Berkeley  if  you 
like."  So,  after  dinner,  I  talked  about  racism  in  Berkeley.   I 
looked  at  this  sea  of  white  faces,  and  I  remember  saying,  "When 
are  you  going  to  pledge  a  black  student?"  Maybe  I  said  "Negro"  at 
that  point.   I  can  remember  a  voice  from  the  back,  "Not  in  a 
thousand  years."  I  was  never  invited  back.   [laughter] 

Of  course,  there  weren't  that  many  black  students  at  the 
university  then. 

There  weren't  all  that  many,  but  there  were  some, 
the  end  of  my  contact  with  Theta  Xi  fraternity. 

But  that  was 

The  other  topic  I  see  here  that  we  haven't  covered  is  meeting  Mary 
[Rulkotter  Dearing]  from  Chattanooga. 

All  right.   In  the  fall  of  1933,  in  William  B.  Hesseltine's  course 
in  constitutional  history,  I  saw  a  very  attractive  blonde  woman 

who  was  in  graduate  school.   I  don't  remember  ever  talking  to  her 
during  that  term,  but  I  noticed  that  several  other  graduate 
student  males  sort  of  fluttered  around  her.   She  was  very 
attractive—two  and  a  half  years  older  than  I  was.   She  had 
graduated  from  the  University  of  Chattanooga,  had  got  an  M.A.  at 
Washington  University  in  St.  Louis,  and  was  in  Madison  to  work  for 
a  Ph.D.  with  Hesseltine.   1  was  a  senior,  and  she  was  a  second- 
year  graduate  student  with  a  master's  degree. 

Lage:    Had  she  been  attracted  to  Wisconsin  by  Hesseltine,  or  something 
about  Hesseltine? 

Stampp:   Well,  she  had  known  Hesseltine  at  the  University  of  Chattanooga. 
She  had  followed  him  up  there  to  work  with  him. 

Anyway,  I  got  into  the  fraternity,  and  in  January  of  1934, 
there  was  to  be  a  fraternity  dance.   I  don't  know  how  I  did  it, 
but  I  screwed  up  my  courage,  called  her  on  the  telephone  and 
introduced  myself,  and  asked  her  to  come  to  the  dance.   To  my 
astonishment,  she  said  yes.   1  was  just  terribly  impressed  with 
her.   Here  was  a  woman  getting  a  Ph.D.  in  history,  and  I  thought, 
There's  the  Mary  part  of  Charles  and  Mary  Beard. 

Lage:     [laughs]   You  were  going  to  be  Charles. 

Stampp:   Yes,  I  was  going  to  be  Charles,  and  she  was  going  to  be  Mary.   So 
we  started  dating,  and  I  really  did  fall  in  love  with  her;  anyway, 
I  thought  I  did.  And  apparently,  she  did  with  me.   That  fall,  the 
fall  of  1934,  we  were  engaged  to  be  married.   In  those  days,  you 
gave  your  fiancee  your  fraternity  pin  if  you  couldn't  afford  a 
diamond,  and  so  I  gave  her  mine. 

It  was  in  retrospect  a  silly  undergraduate  sort  of  thing,  but 
we  were  very  serious  about  getting  married.   I  had  very  romantic 
ideas  about  what  the  marriage  would  be  like.  We  were  going  to  be 
Charles  and  Mary  Beard.   [laughter]  We  were  going  to  write 
history  together.   I  remember  telling  the  man  who  ultimately 
became  my  major  professor  that  I  couldn't  imagine  marrying  a  woman 
who  wasn't  interested  in  writing  history. 

Then  she  had  to  go  off  in  the  spring  of  1935  to  Washington, 
D.C.  to  do  research  on  her  dissertation.   She  went  home  to 
Chattanooga  during  the  summer,  so  I  didn't  see  her  for  about  six 
months.   The  following  year,  I  took  a  teaching  job  in  a  high 
school  about  forty  miles  outside  of  Madison.   I  would  see  her  on 
weekends,  but  during  the  week  I  was  off  on  the  job.   Then  the  year 
after  that,  1936-1937,  she  got  a  traveling  fellowship  and  spent 
the  whole  year  in  Washington. 

Stampp : 



That's  the  year  when  everything  went  sour,  because  she  met  an 
economist  at  the  Brookings  Institute  who  was  the  right  age  for  her 
and  fell  in  love.   Unfortunately  she  came  back  to  Madison  in  the 
fall  of  1937  and  was  there  for  the  whole  academic  year  of  '37- '38, 
writing  her  dissertation  and  getting  ready  for  her  final  oral 
exam.   I  spent  much  of  the  year  trying  to  persuade  her  to  forget 
the  man  she  had  met  in  Washington,  not  successfully,  and  in  the 
late  summer  of  '38,  she  married  him. 

Now,  was  that  something  you  were  able  to  put  to  one  side  and 
continue  with  your  studies? 

I  kept  working;  I  was  a  teaching  assistant, 
kept  up  with  my  work,  nevertheless. 

It  was  a  blow,  but  I 

I  remember  your  saying  it  was  a  mistake  from  the  beginning. 

Well,  it  was  a  mistake,  because  she  was  obviously  going  to  get  out 
of  graduate  school,  and  presumably  get  a  teaching  job  somewhere, 
while  I  would  still  be  in  graduate  school  for  a  couple  more  years. 
She  finished  in  1938,  and  I  didn't  finish,  because  of 
interruptions,  teaching  high  school  for  a  year  and  so  on--I  didn't 
get  my  degree  until  1941. 

Was  it  unusual  to  have  women  in  graduate  school  then? 

There  weren't  many.   In  addition  to  Mary,  another  woman  came  to 
Hesseltine  with  an  M.A.  degree  and  said  she'd  like  to  work  with 
him.   Hesseltine--!  remember,  because  I  was  in  his  office  at  the 
time—said  to  her,  "Why  should  I  take  you  on?  All  you're  going  to 
do  is  get  married,  and  I  will  have  wasted  all  this  time  having  you 
work  with  me  for  a  Ph.D."  She  didn't  work  with  him.   Imagine  what 
would  happen  to  a  professor  today  talking  that  way! 

The  Graduate  Program  in  History  at  Madison 

[Interview  2:  April  16,  1996] 

Stampp:   I  finished  my  undergraduate  work  in  February  1935  and  went  right 
on  to  graduate  work.   Now  I  have  to  tell  you  a  little  something 
about  the  graduate  program  at  Wisconsin.   At  Berkeley,  you  do  have 
a  major  professor,  and  you  presumably  have  gone  through  his 
seminar  at  least  once.   Your  major  professor  is  responsible  for 
your  dissertation  work,  along  with  a  couple  of  other  people,  but 
he's  the  primary  figure.   At  Wisconsin  at  that  time,  when  you 


decided  to  work  with  somebody,  you  were  tied  to  him  more  securely. 
You  were  expected  to  attend  his  seminar  semester  after  semester  so 
long  as  you  were  in  graduate  school. 

That  ultimately  led  to  some  problems  with  Hesseltine.   He  was 
stimulating,  but  after  being  in  his  seminar,  I  would  say  two 
terms,  I  thought  I  had  learned  what  I  could  learn  from  him  about 
historical  criticism  and  about  his  philosophy  of  history,  and 
after  that,  it  just  got  tedious. 

Lage:    Did  the  seminars  have  a  different  topic  each  year? 

Stampp:   The  seminars  were  largely  seminars  of  people  either  writing  M.A. 
theses  or  Ph.D.  theses  with  the  man  who  ran  the  seminar.   You  had 
to  have  one  seminar  with  another  man,  so  there  might  be  one  or  two 
people  in  the  seminar  who  were  there  to  fulfill  that  requirement, 
but  largely,  it  was  a  dissertation  seminar.  At  Wisconsin  you 
wrote  a  master's  thesis  as  well  as  a  doctoral  dissertation,  so  the 
seminar  reports  were  pretty  much  on  the  progress  of  your  research. 

To  me,  eventually,  it  not  only  became  awfully  boring  but  also 
a  time  consumer,  because  I  had  to  prepare  a  seminar  report  rather 
than  getting  on  with  my  research,  and  that  always  took  time.  We 
spoke  for  two  hours  in  one  of  these  seminars,  or  you  had  to  be 
prepared  to,  and  there  were  a  lot  of  questions.   That  was  one  of 
the  bad  things  about  the  Wisconsin  system,  I  thought. 

Also,  one  had  to  offer  five  fields,  and  they  were  huge 
fields.   My  five  fields  consisted  of  American  history  in  the 
national  period,  1776  to  the  present;  the  second  was  American 
colonial  history;  the  third  one  was  English  history  from  Anglo- 
Saxon  times  to  the  present,  including  the  history  of  the  British 
Empire;  and  the  fourth  field  was  modern  European  history,  1500  to 
the  present.   These  were  enormous  fields,  and  you  were  supposed  to 
be  responsible  for  European  history  from  Russia  to  France—not 
Great  Britain,  that  was  separate. 

Lage:    These  were  not  even  your  specialization  field. 

Stampp:   No,  but  these  were  fields  that  you  had  to  take  written  exams  in, 
and  the  written  exams,  when  you  got  around  to  doing  them,  would 
take  up  about  a  two-week  period.  You  picked  up  your  exam  at  nine 
o'clock  in  the  morning,  and  you  wrote  until  five  in  the  afternoon, 
in  these  four  fields. 

Then  there  was  a  fifth  field  when  you  were  taking  your  so- 
called  written  qualifying  exam.   That  was  historiography,  and  that 
exam  began  at  nine  in  the  morning  one  day  and  didn't  end  until 





Stampp : 

noon  the  following  day,  so  you  had  twenty- four  to  thirty  hours  or 
something  like  that. 

It's  quite  a  vision  of  what  a  person  would  be  expected  to 

It  was  horrible,  it  was  just  horrible. 

Even  the  nature  of  the  historical  enterprise—to  think  you  could 
become  an  expert  in  all  these  fields. 

Right.   So  how  did  one  prepare?  Well,  I  audited  courses  in 
English  Constitutional  history  and  took  a  seminar  in  the  history 
of  the  British  Empire.   I  remember  writing  a  seminar  paper  on  an 
Australian  statesman  who  was  involved  in  the  unification  of 
Australia  in  the  late  nineteenth  century.   I  audited  a  couple  of 
courses  in  modern  European  history,  but  mostly  it  was  independent 
reading.   During  the  years  that  I  prepared  for  them,  I  read 
histories  of  the  Balkans,  histories  of  Russia,  histories  of 
Germany,  histories  of  Spain  and  Portugal,  and  histories  of  Italy. 

Would  you  prepare  in  one  area,  then  take  that  exam  and  go  to 

No,  you  took  them  all  within  a  course  of  two  weeks.   Let's  say  I 
took  American  history  first,  then  it  was  modern  European  history  a 
couple  of  days  later,  then  colonial  history,  then  English  history, 
and  then  you  had  historiography. 

So  this  had  to  all  be  prepared  and  in  your  head  at  one  time. 

It  all  had  to  be  prepared  in  your  head,  and  of  course  before  you 
took  them,  you  had  to  pass  language  exams  in  French  and  German, 
and  I  had  never  had  any  French.   Fortunately,  the  language  exams 
were  simply  reading  exams,  and  I  learned  to  read  French  on  my  own. 
I  got  a  French  grammar  book  and  a  French  dictionary,  and  de 
Toqueville's  history  of  the  background  of  the  French  revolution, 
and  just  started  reading. 


Lage:    Was  there  anything  positive  that  you  can  think  of  in  your 
development  about  this  kind  of  program? 

Stampp:   About  the  graduate  program? 

Lage:    About  having  to  have  such  extensive  knowledge  in  such  a  wide  range 
of  areas. 


Stampp:   Well,  obviously,  it  was  a  good  thing.   I've  sort  of  lived  on  what 
I  learned  in  graduate  school  in  these  fields,  in  which  I've  done 
very  limited  reading  since  then.   Early  in  my  career,  I  actually 
had  to  teach  a  course  in  European  diplomacy  from  the  Franco- 
Prussian  War  to  the  First  World  War,  and  obviously  it  helped  me. 
I  also  taught  a  course  in  English  history  one  time  early  in  my 
career.   So  it  did  help  in  that  way. 

I  don't  think  there  was  another  graduate  school  in  the  United 
States  that  had  as  killing  an  examination  process.  My  feeling  is 
that  Wisconsin  always  thought  of  itself  as  a  rival  of  Harvard,  and 
Wisconsin  was  going  to  be  tougher  than  Harvard,  and  it  certainly 
was  in  examining.   I  can't  think  of  any  other  reason  to  explain 
it,  and  it's  changed  since  I  left  there. 

Lage:    That  sounds  just  grueling. 

Stampp:   Yes. 

Lage:    So  once  you  passed  these,  then  did  you  focus  on  your  dissertation? 

Stampp:   Once  you  passed  your  qualifying  exams,  then  you  focused  on  your 

dissertation.  After  you  finished  your  dissertation,  you  still  had 
to  take  a  two-hour  oral  exam.   That  was  not  terribly  hard. 

Lage:    Was  that  defending  your  dissertation? 

Stampp:   Not  really.   There  were  always  people  representing  my  fields, 

English  history  and  European  history,  but  not  in  my  case  colonial 
history,  because  if  you  wrote  a  first-rate  exam,  you  got  what  was 
called  a  quittance,  and  you  didn't  have  to  be  examined  in  it.   I 
did  that  in  colonial  history.   In  your  major  field  you  were  always 
going  to  be  examined,  so  you  couldn't  get  a  quittance.   I'll 
explain  why  I  didn't  get  a  quittance  in  European  history  later  on. 

I  loved  graduate  school,  I  really  did.   I  look  back  with 
great  nostalgia  to  Madison  in  the  thirties.   It  was  a  wonderful 
place.   I  really  did  like  graduate  school  and  got  to  know  people 
who  were  lifetime  friends  during  those  years. 

Master's  Thesis  on  Antislavery  in  the  South 

Stampp:   I  had  to  pick  a  thesis  topic  immediately  when  I  started  graduate 
work,  and  I  picked  as  the  subject  of  my  master's  thesis  the 
antislavery  movement  in  the  South.   That  was  my  first  experience 
with  research  into  important  primary  sources.   I  found  a  number  of 





Southern  antislavery  newspapers,  mostly  in  border  states  like 
Kentucky  and  Missouri.  The  Wisconsin  Historical  Society  had 

I  should  tell  you,  incidentally,  that  the  library  of  the 
Wisconsin  Historical  Society  was  on  the  university  campus.   In 
fact,  at  that  time,  the  university  library  and  the  Wisconsin 
Historical  Society  library  were  in  the  same  building.   So  in 
American  history,  the  best  library  was  the  Wisconsin  Historical 
Society  rather  than  the  university  library. 

Was  it  a  broader  collection  than  Wisconsin? 

Oh,  yes.   The  Wisconsin  Historical  Society  had  and  still  has 
wonderful  manuscript  collections,  not  just  for  Wisconsin  but  for 
other  states,  and  fine  newspaper  files.  As  I  said,  I  was  able  to 
find  the  files  of  Southern  antislavery  newspapers  there.   These 
papers  were  usually  of  short  duration.  One  in  Lexington, 
Kentucky,  for  example,  was  published  for  about  a  year,  then  a  mob 
broke  in  and  destroyed  the  presses,  and  that  was  the  end  of  that 

There  were  also  manumission  societies  in  North  Carolina  and 
Virginia,  and  I  had  the  published  minutes  of  the  North  Carolina 
Antislavery  Society.   So  in  Madison,  I  found  I  didn't  have  to 
travel.   I  found  enough  to  write  a  decent  150-page  thesis  on  the 
antislavery  movement. 

Was  that  a  topic  that  Hesseltine  would  have  guided  you  to,  or  did 
he  leave  it  up  to  you? 

No,  I  picked  it  myself.   I  don't  remember  how--I  must  have  read 
something  about  antislavery  sentiment  in  the  Old  South.   The 
Southern  critics  of  slavery  were  largely  Quakers;  there  were 
antislavery  organizations  in  Maryland,  Virginia,  North  Carolina, 
Kentucky,  and  Tennessee- -not  in  the  Deep  South,  where  organized 
antislavery  was  impossible.   Antislavery  Southerners  advocated 
gradual,  compensated  emancipation,  and  then  the  colonization  of 
the  emancipated  slaves  somewhere  outside  the  United  States,  back 
to  Africa  or  wherever.   That  was  the  kind  of  movement  they 

I  wouldn't  say  that  I  wrote  a  great  master's  thesis.   This 
was  my  first  experience  writing  a  really  long  essay.   I  had 
written  term  papers  of  fifteen  pages,  twenty  pages.   This  was 
about  150  pages,  and  I  had  a  lot  to  learn  about  writing. 

Outside  of  resenting  having  to  go  to  Hesseltine 's  seminars 
every  term,  this  is  when  I  first  was  a  little  disappointed  in  my 


major  professor.   He  read  my  master's  thesis,  but  I  didn't  get 
much  advice  from  him  about  what  was  good  about  it  or  what  was  bad 
about  it.   I  didn't  get  much  help  from  him  about  literary 

Lage:    Even  with  these  weekly  seminars. 

Stampp:   No.   I  would  hear  him  make  comments  in  the  seminar,  but  when  I 
handed  him  my  master's  thesis--!  assume  he  read  it--I  thought  I 
should  get  a  long  letter  from  him  about  what's  good,  what's  bad 
about  it,  and  stylistic  matters,  and  it  just  wasn't  there.   I  was 
almost  self-taught  as  far  as  learning  how  to  write  was  concerned. 

Lage:    You  certainly  knew  what  you  wanted.   I  mean,  there  are  those  who 
don't  really  work  so  hard  at  the  literary  craftsmanship  part  of 

Stampp:   Yes.   I'll  say  a  little  more  about  that  later  on  when  I  speak  of 
my  relationship  with  another  graduate  student. 

Anyway,  there  was  a  break.   I  did  one  semester  of  graduate 
work  from  February  to  June  of  1935.   I  stayed  in  Madison  that 
summer  and  was  working  on  my  thesis.   In  the  fall  of  1935,  I  went 
back  to  Madison  and  started  my  second  semester,  but  I  had  no 
money.   I  had  applied  for  a  teaching  assistantship,  but  I  didn't 
get  it.   It  was  too  early;  I  was  applying  before  I  had  really  got 
very  far  in  graduate  work. 

So  what  I  did  get  was  an  NYA  job  from  the  National  Youth 
Administration  which  paid  fifteen  dollars  a  month.  My  job  was 
checking  bibliography  for  John  D.  Hicks'  textbook.   That  was 
pretty  tedious,  but  it  was  a  way  of  making  a  living. 

I  worked  at  this  NYA  job  for  a  few  weeks  in  September  of 
1935,  but  I  really  didn't  know  how  I  was  going  to  get  by.   I 
couldn't  ask  my  parents  for  any  more  help;  they  had  helped  me 
through  my  undergraduate  work,  and  I  was  getting  some  help  from  my 
aunt  Selma. 

A  Teaching  Position  at  Milton  High  School 

Stampp:   The  teacher  placement  office  in  late  September  called  me  in  and 
told  me  that  somebody  who  was  teaching  at  Milton  High  School  in 
the  little  village,  Milton,  of  about  2,100,  had  just  taken  another 
job  in  a  bigger  city,  and  there  was  an  opening  to  teach  American 







and  European  history, 
and  had  an  interview. 

and  would  I  like  to  have  it?  I  went  down 
I  had  no  money,  so  I  decided  to  take  it. 

Was  this  close  by  Madison? 

It  was  forty  miles  away,  and  there  was  wonderful  train  service 
between  them.   The  job  paid  $1,035  for  a  year,  and  I  saved  $300 
out  of  that  during  the  year.   I  found  a  rooming  house  on  the  edge 
of  the  Milton  College  campus,  and  I  think  room  and  board  was 
something  like  six  and  a  half  dollars  a  week.   Out  of  $1,000,  I 
could  afford  a  certain  amount  of  entertainment.   So  for  the  first 
time  in  my  life,  I  had  a  bank  account. 

Yes,  $300  was  a  lot  at  that  time. 
Yes,  $300  was  a  lot. 

I  found  it  hard  to  adjust  to  Milton.   I  mean,  the  fact  that 
it  was  dominated  by  Seventh-Day  Baptists  didn't  bother  me,  but  I 
had  never  lived  in  a  small  town  before.  Madison  had  a  population 
of  75,000,  and  there  was  a  big  university,  and  it  was  the  state 
capital,  so  there  was  always  a  lot  going  on  there.   Milwaukee  was 
a  half  million,  and  here's  a  little  town  of  2,000. 

How  large  did  that  make  the  high  school?   It  drew  from  the 
surrounding  area? 

Yes,  it  drew  a  lot  of  kids  off  the  farms  around  there.   It  must 
have  had  500  students,  something  like  that.   I  remember  there  was 
no  home  mail  delivery  there,  so  I  would  have  to  go  down  to  the 
post  office  to  pick  up  mail.   I  always  felt  when  walking  down  the 
street  that  there  was  someone  standing  at  every  window  looking  at 
me  as  I  was  going  by.  Always  in  front  of  the  post  office,  there 
were  some  loafers  sitting  there  staring  at  you  when  you  went  in  to 
get  your  mail.   I  had  never  had  that  experience  before.   If  you 
were  a  teacher,  their  eyes  were  on  you  even  more. 

Did  you  feel  constrained  about  what  kind  of  political  views  you 
could  express? 

It  wasn't  really  an  issue.   I  taught  a  civics  course,  and  there 
was  probably  some  kind  of  a  radical  twist  to  it,  but  I  can't 
remember  it  now.   European  history  was  the  awful  kind  you  taught 
with  a  textbook.   They  got  assignments  in  the  textbook  every  day, 
and  you  asked  them  questions  about  what  they  had  read. 

But  not  necessarily  about  issues  that  were,  in  the  interwar  years, 
hot  issues? 





No,  not  very  much.  American  history  was  a  senior  course,  and  it 
was  very  Beardian  American  history  I  was  teaching  them.   I  had  a 
terrible  textbook,  I  can't  remember  what  it  was,  but  it  was  not 
Beard.   I  didn't  have  a  choice  on  that. 

I  escaped  every  weekend.   On  Friday  I  would  go  home  for  lunch 
to  my  rooming  house,  and  I  would  carry  my  suitcase  back  that 
afternoon  to  the  school,  hide  it  under  my  desk,  and  as  soon  as  the 
bell  rang  for  the  end  of  the  last  class,  I  would  walk  to  the 
railroad  station  and  get  on  a  train  for  Madison.   I  would  get 
there  about  dinnertime  and  stayed  until  Sunday  night. 

I  thought  that  I  could  do  a  lot  of  reading  in  Milton  in 
preparation  for  examinations.   But  I  found  that  teaching  high 
school,  especially  the  first  year,  took  one  heck  of  a  lot  of  time 
--preparing  for  classes,  grading  papers,  reading  little  essays 
that  they  wrote.   I  did  manage  to  get  through  a  course  of  reading 
in  American  history,  but  I  got  nowhere  near  what  I  had  expected. 

That  year  was  enough  to  persuade  me  that  high  school  teaching 
was  not  for  me.   I  remember  my  principal,  who  visited  my  class  a 
number  of  times,  said,  "Well,  you're  very  good  at  teaching,  but 
you  really  ought  to  develop  more  interest  in  your  students.   Get 
to  know  them  out  of  the  class,"  and  so  on.   I  was  much  too  busy  to 
do  that. 

Right.   It  didn't  appeal  to  you,  these  young  minds? 

I  was  awfully  young  myself--!  was  twenty -two --and  I  had  a  little 
trouble  with  girls  in  my  classes  getting  crushes  on  me,  wanting  me 
to  go  walking  with  them. 

[laughs]   That's  probably  not  what  the  principal  had  in  mind. 

These  seniors—there  was  about  four  years  difference  between  their 
age  and  my  age  at  that  time.  I  certainly  didn't  ever  want  to  live 
in  a  small  town  like  that.  But  it  was  a  good  experience. 

I  must  tell  you  one  thing.   This  town  was  dominated  by 
Seventh-Day  Baptists,  which  meant  no  smoking.   I  smoked;  they  knew 
I  smoked,  but  certainly  women  were  not  to  smoke.  My  room  in  my 
rooming  house  became  a  den  of  iniquity.   The  kindergarten  teacher 
didn't  actually  room  in  the  house,  but  she  came  for  meals  there. 
The  English  teacher  at  the  high  school  had  a  room  in  this  house, 
and  they  both  smoked.   They  would  come  into  my  room  after  dinner 
and  smoke . 


These  were  women? 


Stampp:   Yes.   It  was  odd,  incidentally,  that  they  didn't  disapprove  of  my 
having  these  women  in  my  room.   I  guess  the  atmosphere  was  so  pure 
that  they  couldn't  really  believe  anything  unethical  would  be 
going  on. 

The  son  of  the  owner  of  this  rooming  house—they  were 
Seventh-Day  Baptists- -used  to  hide  his  pint  of  whiskey  in  my 
closet.   [laughter] 

Lage:    You  were  the  radical  from  the  big  city. 

Stampp:   Yes.   Once  in  a  while,  we  would  get  snowed  in  and  the  school  would 
be  closed  for  a  day.   I  couldn't  get  out  either,  so  the  English 
teacher  and  I  used  to  sit  on  the  floor  in  my  room  and  play  poker, 
[laughter]   It  was  a  funny  year. 

I  learned  in  the  spring  that  I  had  been  given  a  teaching 
assistantship  at  Wisconsin  for  the  fall  of  1936,  so  I  told  them  I 
wouldn't  be  back.   I  had  $300  in  the  bank,  and  I  needed  a  job  that 
summer.   My  sister  had  a  job  as  a  secretary  in  a  company  in 
Milwaukee  called  the  Pulp  Reproduction  Company,  I'll  explain  what 
that  is.   I  applied  for  a  job  there,  a  real  working-class  job,  and 
got  it.   The  pay  was  twenty-five  cents  an  hour,  and  I  was  on  the 
night  shift,  four-thirty  until  midnight,  six  days  a  week. 

The  Pulp  Reproduction  Company  was  a  company  that  made  toys, 
Halloween  jack-o- lanterns  and  Easter  bunnies  and  Christmas  Santa 
Clauses  out  of  a  sort  of  papier-mache.   The  floor  above  had  stacks 
of  these,  and  there  was  a  big  hamper,  and  they  would  come  down. 
Then  there  was  an  assembly  line,  and  in  front  of  me  I  had  a  tub  of 
sizing.   There  was  a  guy  next  to  me,  and  for  seven  and  a  half 
hours,  we  would  take  these  papier-mache  things,  dip  them  in  the 
tub  of  sizing,  put  them  on  the  conveyor  belt  which  brought  them 
through  an  oven,  where  they  were  dried  out.   You  would  wind  up 
with  this  sizing  all  over  your  face  and  all  over  your  clothes,  and 
at  midnight  you  would  change  your  clothes.   I  had  a  long  three- 
quarters-of-an-hour  streetcar  ride  home.   I  did  it  all  summer 
long,  and  almost  broke  my  back  doing  it. 

Lage:     So  this  gave  you  the  first-hand  insight  into  labor  economics. 

Stampp:   That's  right.   This  was  on  the  south  side  of  Milwaukee,  which  was 
a  Polish  district,  and  there  were  lots  of  Poles  and  other  Slavic 
people  living  there.  Most  of  the  people  working  with  me  were  from 
this  background.   I  was  amazed  at  how  indifferent  they  were  to 
politics  and  how  indifferent  they  were  to  radical  politics.   No 
one  was  interested,  they  were  just  interested  in  getting  along  day 
to  day. 





Probably  too  tired. 

Well,  that's  right.   They  knew  that  I  had  taught  high  school  for  a 
year,  so  I  was  a  kind  of  curious  guy.  The  job  did  give  me  some 
time  to  read.   It  was  about  a  forty- five-minute  streetcar  ride--I 
was  living  with  my  parents  on  the  north  side  of  Milwaukee—to  the 
south  side  place,  and  I  always  had  a  book  with  me.   I  would  read 
on  the  streetcar  all  the  way  there  and  all  the  way  back,  and  I  got 
quite  a  lot  of  reading  done.   I  remember  very  well  that  was  the 
summer  I  read  Gone  With  The  Wind. 

How  did  you  react  to  Gone  With  The  Wind  with  your  background  in 
Southern  history? 

I  thought  it  was  pretty  awful,  but  I  read  it.   I  also  remember 
reading  several  books  on  Reconstruction  on  the  streetcar. 

At  the  end  of  that  summer,  I  took  a  bus  down  to  Chattanooga 
to  see  my  girlfriend  and  spent  about  ten  days  with  her  there.   She 
was  about  to  go  off  to  Washington;  that's  why  I  went  down  to  see 
her.   We  talked  about  the  next  year,  and  we  agreed  that  a  year  is 
a  long  time,  and  we're  not  going  to  just  lead  an  isolated  life. 
So  we  both  agreed  that  we  were  going  to  date  and  we  did. 




Teaching  Assistant  to  William  Hesseltine 

I  went  back  to  Madison  and  was  a  teaching  assistant,  Hesseltine 's 
teaching  assistant.   I  had  a  fellow  teaching  assistant.   There 
were  300  students  in  the  class,  and  Hesseltine 's  idea  of  the  role 
of  the  teaching  assistant  was  to  do  everything  except  give  the 

All  the  correcting? 

We  not  only  corrected  the  exams,  but  we  made  them  out  and  assigned 
the  final  grades.   Hesseltine  lectured  twice  a  week.   This  was  the 
survey  course  in  American  history.  We  broke  up  these  300  students 
into  discussion  sections.   I  had  to  teach  about  five  discussion 
sections,  and  my  partner,  George  Smith,  taught  the  others.   There 
were  two  midterm  exams  plus  the  final. 

Which  you  designed  and  corrected? 

We  designed  them,  yes,  and  the  midterm  exams  were  a  combination  of 
multiple  choice  questions  and  one  essay  question.   Working  out  a 
set  of  multiple  choice  questions  takes  a  heck  of  a  lot  of  time. 



Stampp : 

Stampp : 


We  did  it,  and  then  that  horrible  time  came  when  we  had  to  grade 
these  exams. 

This  was  a  real  job. 

It  was  a  real  job,  yes. 

He  didn't  give  you  guidance? 

No.   I  think  he  visited  my  discussion  sections  a  couple  of  times, 
sat  and  listened,  which  was  totally  disruptive,  when  you  have 
twenty  students  and  the  professor  sitting  in  the  back  seat.   The 
whole  thing  becomes  artificial.  They  were  trying  to  help  me  as 
much  as  possible,  and  I  was  nervous,  but  we  got  through  it. 

All  of  these  experiences  must  have  had  their  impact  when  you 
became  a  professor,  I  would  think.  We  can  get  to  that. 

Yes.   I'm  trying  to  think  of  what  else  happened  that  year,  outside 
of  my  knowing  that  my  love  life  was  falling  apart,  and  that  didn't 
help.   By  the  spring,  I  knew  that  she  had  met  another  man,  and 
things  were  not  going  well. 

Were  you  doing  okay  with  Hesseltine  at  that  point? 

I  was  doing  okay  with  Hesseltine.   I  finished  my  M.A.  work  at  the 
end  of  the  fall  of  the  1936  term. 

Did  you  get  any  Beardian  interpretation  into  that  M.A.  thesis? 

Oh,  yes,  sure.   It  was  Beardian,  what  it  was  that  motivated  people 
to  join  the  antislavery  movement,  and  others  who  opposed  the 
antislavery  movement. 

I  got  my  M.A.,  then,  at  the  end  of  the  fall  of  1936  and  began 
my  Ph.D.  work  immediately  in  the  spring  of  1937.   Outside  of  that, 
it  was  an  uneventful  year.   I  worked  very  hard  as  a  T.A.,  reading 
in  different  fields,  and  auditing  courses. 


There  was  one  course,  the  only  lecture  course  I  remember  that 
I  really  thought  was  wonderful.   It  was  a  course  in  English 
constitutional  history  taught  by  a  Medievalist  whose  real  interest 
was  in  the  history  of  Genoa  in  the  Middle  Ages.   He  was  a 
magnificent  lecturer.   It  was  a  very  small  class,  about  forty 
students.   He  had  a  kind  of  enthusiasm  for  English  constitutional 
history,  starting  way  back  with  the  Anglo-Saxons,  the  early 
beginnings  of  a  parliamentary  system,  and  the  beginnings  of  the 
kind  of  local  government  that  England  had.   I  found  that  course 
just  absolutely  fascinating.   He  was  a  wonderful  teacher.   Why  he 


was  so  enthusiastic  about  it,  I  don't  know,  but  he  had  this 
terrible  enthusiasm  that  he  conveyed  to  his  students,  and  we  all 
thought  it  was  a  great  course. 

His  name  was  Robert  Reynolds,  and  his  research  was  in 
medieval  Genoa,  economic  history  of  medieval  Genoa. 

Lage:    Did  he  have  an  economic  interpretation—Beardian? 

Stampp:   Not  particularly,  no.   It  was  really  very  strict,  technical, 
constitutional  history  about  the  development  of  political 
institutions  and  constitutional  traditions  in  Britain,  and  the 
Witan,  which  was  sort  of  the  forerunner  of  the  English  parliament 
and  how  it  functioned,  how  local  records  were  kept  right  on 
through  the  Middle  Ages,  on  through  the  Tudor  and  Stuart  periods 
to  the  modern  period.   I  was  only  auditing  the  course,  but  it  was 
the  one  I  remember  being  most  exciting. 

At  Christmas  time,  Mary- -ultimately  her  name  became  Mary 
Bearing.  Mary  Rulkotter  was  her  maiden  name.   She  came  to 
Wisconsin  at  Christmas,  and  we  spent  a  week  or  ten  days  together. 
She  was  staying  at  my  family  house.   Our  relationship  was  pretty 
good.   It  got  back  on  track  again,  but  it  was  off  the  track  pretty 
soon  after  she  got  back  to  Washington. 

In  June  1937,  I  was  back  briefly  in  Milwaukee,  and  Mary  came 
to  Milwaukee  from  Washington.   Obviously,  everyone  knew  it  was 
hopeless—everyone  but  me. 

Lage:    This  sounds  maybe  more  painful  than  you're  even  expressing. 

Stampp:   It  was  extremely  painful.   It  really  was  one  of  the  most  hurting 
things,  and  it  had  an  impact  on  my  first  wife--!' 11  tell  you 
later.   One  of  the  problems  was  that  Mary  could  never  really  say, 
"Look,  Ken,  it's  over."  There  was  always  this,  "Well,  I'm  not 
sure,  I'm  not  sure." 

We  went  back  to  Madison  in  the  summer  of  1937,  and  she  rented 
a  room  in  a  sorority  house.   I  lived  nearby,  so  we  had  a  lot  of 
time  together  that  summer  while  I  was  still  a  T.A.  and  preparing 
for  the  written  exams. 

Richard  Nelson  Current 

Stampp:   In  the  fall  of  1937,  I  was  Hesseltine's  teaching  assistant  again, 
and  that  fall  I  met  somebody  who  became  a  close  academic  friend 


for  the  rest  of  my  life.   His  name  is  Richard  Nelson  Current,  and 
he  became  a  very  distinguished  historian.   He  was  born  in  Colorado 
Springs  and  went  to  Oberlin  as  an  undergraduate,  majoring  in 
English  and  the  classics.   From  Oberlin,  he  went  for  his  master's 
degree  to  the  Fletcher  School  of  Law  and  Diplomacy  at  Tufts 
College  in  Boston,  and  got  his  M.A.  really  in  diplomatic  history. 
Then  he  came  to  Madison  because  he  wanted  to  work  with  Hesseltine. 

He  arrived  actually  in  1936,  but  I  didn't  really  get  to  know 
him  that  year,  but  in  "37,  he  became  Hesseltine 's  teaching 
assistant.   The  other  T.A.  of  the  year  before  had  finished  and 
left  to  do  research. 


Stampp:   I  don't  think  that  Hesseltine  was  an  ideal  seminar  teacher.   He 
was  rude  in  some  ways.   Somebody  would  be  giving  a  report,  and 
he'd  get  up  and  start  walking  around,  or  looking  at  a  book,  or 

Lage:    Giving  you  a  subtle  message. 

Stampp:   And  then,  suddenly,  an  idea  would  pop  into  his  head,  and  he'd 

expound  some  theory  of  his  about  why  a  certain  historical  figure 
behaved  as  he  did,  and  what  his  motives  were,  and  so  on.   I 
remember  my  friend  Richard  Current  was  in  the  seminar  with  me,  the 
second  term  I  was  in  his  seminar.   He  had  just  come  to  Wisconsin 
from  the  Fletcher  School  of  Law  and  Diplomacy.   He  was  going  to  do 
a  biography  of  Thaddeus  Stevens,  the  radical  Republican  of  the 
Civil  War  and  Reconstruction  period.  And  he  was  giving  a  seminar 
report  on  Stevens ' s  early  life  and  his  interest  in  railroad 
building  in  Pennsylvania,  and  in  coal  and  mines  and  iron 
manufacturing.   Hesseltine  suddenly  interrupted  him  and  began 
expounding  some  theory  about  Thaddeus  Stevens. 

I  can  remember  Dick  Current  sitting  there  with  a  kind  of 
smirk  on  his  face,  and  to  the  amazement  of  everyone  in  the 
seminar,  when  Hesseltine  finished,  Dick  Current  said,  "Well, 
that's  about  the  most  naive  explanation  of  Stevens  I've  ever 
heard."  No  one  had  ever  done  that.   [laughter]   Hesseltine  was 
sort  of  taken  aback,  too. 

Lage:    That  took  some  courage,  I  would  think,  from  the  way  you've 
described  Hesseltine. 

Stampp:   It  was  either  folly  or  courage.   Hesseltine  accepted  it,  because 
Dick  Current  became  his  teaching  assistant  the  next  year. 


Lage:    So  you  and  he  were  a  team. 

Stampp:   He  and  I  were  teaching  assistants  during  the  1937-1938  year.   Dick 
and  I  became  very  close  friends  almost  immediately. 
Ideologically,  we  were  much  alike.  We  had  the  same  radical  views, 
and  we  both  enjoyed  relaxing  weekends  and  going  out  and  drinking 
beer,  so  it  was  a  wonderful  friendship  that  developed. 

Lage:     Sharing  of  intellectual  ideas? 

Stampp:   Yes,  sharing  of  intellectual  ideas.  We  have  some  differences 
about  American  foreign  policy  now,  but  intellectually,  we  are 
still—we're  certainly  no  longer  Marxists,  but  we're  still  very 
liberal.   I  would  say  we  are  sort  of  left-wing  Democrats.   We 
communicate  all  the  time.   Now  he  has  a  fax  machine,  and  I  have  a 
fax  machine,  so  we're  faxing  each  other. 

Lage:    Where  is  he  now? 

Stampp:   He's  retired.   He's  almost  exactly  my  age.   He  lives  in  South 

Natick,  Massachusetts,  which  is  a  suburb  of  Boston.   He  taught  in 
lots  of  different  places  later  on.   His  first  job  was  on  the 
eastern  shore  of  Maryland  at  one  of  the  Maryland  state  teachers 
colleges,  and  then  he  went  from  there  to  a  small  college  in 
upstate  New  York,  I  can't  remember  the  name  of  it.   He  also  taught 
for  a  year  or  so  in  a  state  teachers  college  in  the  upper 
peninsula  of  Michigan. 


Stampp:   He  taught  at  Lawrence  College  in  Appleton,  Wisconsin,  for  a  couple 
of  years.   Then  he  got  a  job  at  Mills  College,  so  that  was 
wonderful.   I  was  in  Berkeley,  and  he  was  there  for  about  four 
years,  from  about  1948  to  '52.   He  left  Mills  and  went  to  the 
University  of  Illinois,  and  from  there  he  went  to  the  University 
of  North  Carolina  Women's  College  at  Greensborough.   From  there  he 
went  to  the  University  of  Wisconsin,  which  he  didn't  like  very 
much.   He  didn't  like  teaching  graduate  students;  they  took  too 
much  time. 

He  went  back  to  Greensborough  and  continued  there.   Then  it 
became  the  University  of  North  Carolina,  co-ed  in  his  last  years, 
and  he  finished  there  and  retired.  His  first  wife  died  of  cancer, 
and  he's  remarried.   Now  they  live  in  Massachusetts. 

He's  one  of  the  most  prolific  writers  I've  ever  known.   He 
must  have  written  fifteen  or  sixteen  books  by  now.   His  doctoral 
dissertation  was  a  biography  of  Thaddeus  Stevens,  the  radical 
Republican  in  the  Civil  War  and  Reconstruction  period,  called  Old 



Stampp : 



Thad  Stevens,  very  much  a  Beardian  interpretation  of  Thad  Stevens 
and  his  railroad  interests  and  his  iron  interests  in  Pennsylvania. 

While  he  was  teaching  up  at  Northern  Michigan  State  College, 
he  found  a  trunk  full  of  letters  written  by  the  inventor  of  the 
typewriter,  so  he  wrote  a  book  about  the  invention  and  development 
of  the  typewriter  which  was  quite  good.   He  has  written  all  over 
the  lot. 

He  enjoys  writing,  it  sounds  like. 

He  loves  writing.   He  finishes  one  book,  and  he  starts  right  off 
on  another  book.   He's  written  biographies,  he's  written  a  number 
of  books  on  Southern  history,  he's  written  about  the  carpetbaggers 
in  the  South.   Incidentally,  he's  also  written  a  history  of  Phi 
Beta  Kappa.   He  was  commissioned  to  write  it  for  Phi  Beta  Kappa. 

He  just  finished  a  book,  and  it's  going  to  be  published,  a 
biography  of  a  famous  dancer  called  Louie  Fuller.   I  don't  know 
whether  you  know  her.   She  apparently  was  a  sensational  dancer 
around  the  turn  of  the  century.   His  second  wife  is  very  much 
interested  in  Louie  Fuller  and  began  collecting  memorabilia  about 
her,  posters  and  so  on,  so  he  decided  to  write  a  biography  of  her. 
She  spent  much  of  her  time  in  Paris,  and  he  had  to  go  to  Paris  to 
go  through  letters  there.   I'm  looking  forward  to  reading  it.   I 
just  got  a  note  from  him  yesterday  saying  he's  finished  the  Fuller 
biography,  and  he's  got  to  get  on  to  something  else. 

Now,  how  did  he  help  you  with  your  writing? 
year  when  you  were  teaching  assistants? 

Was  it  during  this 

No,  it  came  later.  After  we  were  out  of  graduate  school—he  was 
usually  somewhere  other  than  where  I  was--I  always  sent  him  my 
manuscripts  to  read.   He  was  a  wonderful  literary  critic.   I 
really  did  learn  a  great  deal  from  him  about  writing  clear 

Something  you  would  hope  for  from  a  professor. 

I'm  sure  it  came  out  of  his  background,  the  major  he  had  in 
English  and  the  classics  at  Oberlin.   There's  nothing  spectacular 
about  his  prose,  it's  just  clear  as  crystal.   You  know  what  he 
means.   So  it's  been  a  marvelous  relationship  all  these  years. 

Lage:    That's  a  very  satisfying  kind  of  friendship, 


Ph.D.  Qualifying  Exams 

Stampp:   Now  I'm  getting  toward  the  Ph.D.  exams.   That  year,  the  second 

semester—that  would  have  been  the  spring  of  1938--Dick's  and  my 
idea  was  that  we  would  try  to  take  those  written  exams  in  May.  We 
went  to  Hesseltine  in  February  and  said,  "We're  taking  our 
qualifying,  our  writtens,  this  May.   Could  we  drop  out  of  your 
seminar  this  time?"  Our  understanding  was  that  he  said  okay. 

So  we  were  devoting  all  our  time,  apart  from  our  teaching, 
getting  ready  for  the  written  exams.   Some  time  in  early  April,  we 
were  in--we  had  keys  to  Hesseltine 's  office,  and  that's  where  we 
studied  and  where  we  graded  exams—we  were  in  his  office,  and  he 
came  in.   He  suddenly  turned  on  the  two  of  us  and  said,  "Who  the 
hell  do  you  think  you  are?  My  seminar- -you1 re  too  good  for  my 
seminar,"  and  on  and  on,  a  real  tirade.  We  were  both  astounded. 

Lage:    Here  you  had  been  working  with  him  as  teaching  assistants  all 

Stampp:   We  had  been  in  his  seminar  X  number  of  times,  and  we  were  working 
with  him  as  his  teaching  assistants.   He  was  furious,  obviously, 
that  we  weren't  in  his  seminar. 

Dick  was  really  a  little  bit  ahead  of  me.   He  went  on  and 
took  his  exams  that  spring  and  got  a  job  on  the  eastern  shore  of 
Maryland.   In  my  case,  I  needed  for  the  next  year  a  traveling 
fellowship.   I  haven't  told  you  about  my  dissertation,  but  it 
meant  I  would  have  to  leave  Madison.   I  had  applied  for  a 
traveling  fellowship  which  paid  $600,  which  you  had  to  get  by  on 
for  ten  months.   Hesseltine  didn't  raise  a  finger  to  get  anything 
for  me  from  the  department. 

I  found  out  later  that  Curtis  Nettels,  this  colonial 
historian,  after  they  dished  out  all  kinds  of  fellowships,  had 
said,  "Well,  what  about  Stampp?"  Hesseltine  hadn't  said  a  word 
about  me.   I  got  the  pickings  at  the  end;  it  was  a  fellowship  that 
paid  only  $400  a  year.   I  was  furious  then,  and  I  was  ready  to 
quit  the  whole  thing.   I  thought,  "Well,  my  major  professor  has 
turned  against  me,  and  you  can't  get  a  job  if  your  major  professor 
isn't  behind  you." 


I  couldn't  live  on  forty  dollars  a  month,  so  I  went  to 
Milwaukee,  and  I  told  my  parents  and  my  aunt,  "I'm  quitting."  I 
began  looking  for  a  job,  and  I  almost  found  one. 


Well,  my  aunt  Selma,  whose  picture  hangs  in  my  study  there 
and  always  will--!1 11  have  to  show  it  to  you--my  aunt  Selma 
literally  got  on  her  knees  and  begged  me  to  go  on. 

Lage:  Oh,  my  goodness!   [they  go  to  look  at  picture  and  keep  talking] 

Stampp:  There  she  is,  she's  my  maiden  aunt. 

Lage:  You  wouldn't  have  made  it  without  her. 

Stampp:  No. 

Lage:  Oh,  she's  wonderful,  strong. 

Stampp:   Yes.   She  was  a  wonderful  woman.   She  said,  "How  much  more  do  you 
need?"   I  said,  "I  think  I'm  going  to  need  about  seventeen  dollars 
a  month  more."  She  said,  "Well,  I'll  give  it  to  you,  but  go  on 
back  to  school."  So  I  did. 

Lage:    This  is  all  happening  at  once! 

Stampp:   All  happening  at  once,  that's  right--my  love  life  falling  apart, 
my  professor  turning  against  me.   I  spent  that  whole  summer  of 
1938  studying  for  my  Ph.D.  exams.   The  closer  I  got  to  those 
exams,  the  more  I  began  to  dread  them.   You  know,  it  was  a  test  of 
your  physical  endurance  much  more  than  your  intellect. 

Lage:    Yes,  I  can  see.   In  two  weeks. 

Stampp:   That's  right.   I  began  having  indigestion.   I  would  wake  up  at 

three  in  the  morning  or  I  couldn't  get  to  sleep,  I  would  be  making 
up  questions  and  how  would  I  answer  them,  having  sodium 
bicarbonate  at  three  in  the  morning,  then  going  back  to  sleep  or 
trying  to  get  to  sleep.  Actually,  I  was  living  in  Madison  that 
summer.   I  thought  it  was  better  to  get  away  from  home  and  the 
distractions  there. 

So  October  came,  and  I  took  the  exams.   I  remember—it  was 
the  honor  system.   I  would  get  the  exam,  and  I  would  go  to  my 
room.   I  can't  remember  which  exam  was  the  first  one,  but  I 
remember  taking  the  exam,  looking  at  the  questions,  and  my  mind 
was  a  total  blank.   I  thought,  I'm  not  going  to  pass  them.   I'm 
just  not  going  to  pass  them. 

Incidentally,  I  had  resolved  that  if  I  didn't  pass,  I  would 
never  do  it  again.   I  would  never  go  through  the  physical  ordeal, 
so  it  was  this  time  or  never. 


I  must  have  sat  for  a  half  hour,  just  absolutely  blank.   I 
remember  finally  picking  up  a  pen  and  starting  to  write,  and  then 
writing  and  writing  and  writing.   Somebody  would  bring  me  some 
luncheon,  and  I  just  kept  writing. 

Lage:    Something  did  happen  when  you  picked  up  your  pen. 

Stampp:   Well,  something  happened.   I  began  writing,  and  things  began 

coming  back.   I  turned  in  that  exam  at  five  in  the  afternoon,  and 
a  couple  of  days  later,  I  had  the  second  one.   The  second  one 
wasn't  as  bad.   I  didn't  have  this  blank  feeling  about  it  at  the 

Lage:  Were  the  questions  all  essay? 

Stampp:  They  were  all  essay  questions. 

Lage:  Were  they  challenging? 

Stampp:  They  were  challenging  enough;  they  were  good,  broad  questions. 

Lage:  Pretty  much  to  get  the  comprehensive  nature  of  your  knowledge? 

Stainpp:  Yes.   I  can't  remember  what  the  questions  were  any  more. 

I  finally  got  to  my  European  history  exam,  and  that  I  knew 
was  going  to  be  a  real  problem.   The  head  man  in  European  history 
who  was  going  to  read  my  paper  was  named  Chester  Penn  Higby.   I 
had  taken  a  survey  course  with  him  way  back  when  I  first  went  to 
Madison,  but  in  graduate  school  I  could  never  do  any  work  with  him 
because  his  classes  met  when  I  was  a  teaching  assistant  to 
Hesseltine.   So  one  day,  I  went  in  to  see  him,  and  I  said, 
"Professor  Higby,  I'm  terribly  sorry,"  I  knew  he  was  awfully 
sensitive  about  this. 

Lage:     [laughs]   Another  one  you've  offended. 

Stampp:   I  said,  "I've  wanted  to  take  courses  with  you,  but  I  am  a  teaching 
assistant  for  Professor  Hesseltine,  and  his  class  meets  when  your 
class  meets,  and  I  couldn't  make  it.   Professor  Higby,  I  want  you 
to  know  I  spent  all  summer  reading  European  history."   Professor 
Higby  said,  "Mr.  Stampp,  some  people  read  European  history  for 
twenty  years  and  don't  feel  that  they  know  it  yet."   [laughter] 
That  really  was  a  help. 

So  when  my  European  history  exam  came  along,  I  knew  I  was  in 
trouble.   He  was  a  notorious  examiner  for  asking--!  can  remember 
several  of  the  questions:  "Write  a  history  of  the  eastern  shore  of 






the  Adriatic,"  "Write  a  history  of  the  lower  Vistula  Valley," 
"Write  a  history  of  religious  controversy  in  Bohemia." 

This  is  the  kind  of  thing  you  can't  fake.   It's  too  specific. 

That's  right,  yes.   The  graduate  students  said,  "This  guy  goes  to 
the  Encyclopedia  Britannica  and  picks  out  these  questions  to  put 
on  our  exams."   [laughter]   Not  to  my  surprise,  I  passed  my  other 
exams  very  well,  but  he  passed  me  with  a  warning  of  weakness,  and 
that  meant  he  was  going  to  be  on  my  final  oral  exam,  and  he  was 
going  to  really  zero  in  on  me. 

So  the  oral  exam  also  covered  all  of  these  areas? 

That's  right,  except  I  got  a  quittance  in  my  colonial  history,  so 
I  was  not  examined  in  colonial  history.   For  English  history, 
European  history,  and  my  major  field,  I  was  questioned. 

I  finished  those  exams.   I  really  should  have  had  a  month 
off,  gone  and  rested  somewhere,  because  I  was  absolutely 
exhausted.   I  saw  my  major  professor  (Hesseltine) ,  and  1  said, 
"I'm  leaving,"  because  I  was  going  to  go  off  and  do  research 
immediately.   I  was  going  to  Milwaukee  to  rest  for  two  days,  and  I 
said  to  him,  "Look,  when  the  exams  are  over"--in  those  days,  you 
sent  telegrams--"will  you  send  me  a  telegram  telling  me  whether  I 
passed  or  not?   Incidentally,  if  I  didn't  pass,  don't  bother." 

at  all? 

Oh,  no!   Had  you  patched  up  your  relationship  with  him 

Well,  sort  of.   I  wouldn't  say  I  was  on  the  best  of  terms  with 
him;  I  still  hadn't  forgiven  him  for  what  he  did.   He  didn't  send 
the  telegram,  so  I  knew  I  had  failed.   In  due  course,  a  letter 
came  from  the  secretary  of  the  History  Department  saying,  "Dear 
Mr.  Stampp,  I  am  glad  to  tell  you,  you  passed  your  exams."  He  was 
a  bastard. 

Then  I  started  my  dissertation.   That  really  takes  us  through 
graduate  school  except  for  the  final  oral  exam. 

It's  surely  a  mix  of  good  memories  and  bad. 

Mostly  good,  as  I  look  back  now.   I  do  really  feel  nostalgic.   I 
loved  graduate  school,  but  my  relations  with  Hesseltine  ultimately 
led  to  a  total  break.   The  last  few  years  of  his  life,  I  had 
nothing  to  do  with  him,  and  he  had  nothing  to  do  with  me. 


Dissertation;  Indiana  Politics  during  the  Civil  War 
[Interview  3:  April  30,  1996]  ft 

Lage:    Today  is  April  30,  1996,  and  this  is  the  third  session  with 
Kenneth  Stampp.  Last  time,  we  were  launching  you  into  the 
research  for  your  dissertation. 

Stampp:   Did  I  say  anything  about  my  dissertation,  why  I  picked  what  I 

Lage:    Not  in  detail.   I  would  like  to  hear  that. 
Stampp:   Well,  I  think  that's  probably  where  to  begin. 

I  was  definitely  going  to  work  in  Hesseltine's  field  some 
time.   I've  already  talked  about  my  master's  thesis  on 

Lage:    Yes. 

Stampp:   Okay.   I  intended  to  keep  working  in  that  period  and  that  field. 
Somehow,  I  got  interested  in  an  Indiana  politician.   I  have  no 
Indiana  connections.   Indiana  is  politically  an  interesting  state, 
and  I'll  explain  why.   I  got  interested  in  an  Indiana  politician 
named  Oliver  P.  Morton.   He  was  a  Democrat  in  his  early  life,  and 
broke  with  the  Democrats  in  1854  over  the  Kansas-Nebraska  bill. 
He  joined  a  group  that  was  at  that  time  known  as  the  Anti-Nebraska 
Democrats.   They  were  one  part  of  the  coalition  that  formed  the 
Republican  party,  old  Whigs  and  Anti-Nebraska  Democrats  and 
antislavery  Free-Soilers,  some  former  members  of  the  Know-Nothing 

Morton  was  a  fairly  important,  active  politician  during  the 
1850s,  and  in  1860,  he  ran  for  lieutenant  governor  on  the 
Republican  ticket  and  was  elected.  Another  Republican,  [Henry  S.] 
Lane,  was  elected  governor.   Everyone  knew  in  advance  that  he  was 
going  to  be  elected  to  the  United  States  Senate.   He  was,  and 
Morton  became  governor  in  1861. 

My  interest  in  Morton  never  changed,  but  I  finally  decided 
that  I  disliked  the  man  so  much  that  I  couldn't  possibly  write  a 
biography  of  him.   That's  an  interesting  matter. 

Lage:    Did  the  dislike  grow  as  your  research  went  along? 

Stampp:   The  more  I  got  to  know  him,  the  more  I  got  to  dislike  the  man,  and 
that's  an  interesting  thing  to  think  about.   Biographers  usually 


write  about  people  they  like  and  not  often  about  people  they  don't 
like.   Perhaps  there  would  be  some  interesting  biographies  if  they 
were  written  by  people  who  didn't  like  their  subjects,  like  some 
of  the  Nixon  biographies,  for  example. 

By  that  time,  I  had  done  quite  a  lot  of  research  on  Morton  as 
governor,  as  Civil  War  governor  of  Indiana. 

Lage:    Was  this  in  preparation  for  the  dissertation? 

Stampp:   Yes.   Some  of  it--I  had  to  be  doing  some,  because  I  was  in  that 
seminar  a  couple  of  times,  and  I  had  to  do  seminar  reports  every 
semester.   So  I  was  doing  whatever  research  I  could  do  at  the 
Wisconsin  Historical  Society,  and  there's  quite  a  lot  of  material 

Lage:    Would  Hesseltine  have  pointed  you  in  this  direction,  or  is  this 
just  something  you  came  across? 

Stampp:   The  Morton? 
Lage:    The  Morton. 

Stampp:   No,  this  was  strictly  my  idea,  except  that  I  knew  I  was  going  to 
work  in  that  period  because  the  period  interested  me  so  much. 

Then  the  question  was,  if  I  don't  want  to  do  a  biography  of 
Morton,  how  do  I  salvage  off-and-on  research  over  a  couple  of 
years?   I  finally  decided  that  I  was  going  to  do  a  more  general 
study  of  Indiana  politics  during  the  Civil  War.   This  turned  out 
to  be  a  fascinating  subject  because  Indiana  was  a  fascinating 
state  during  the  Civil  War. 

Southern  Indiana  was  populated  by  people  from  the  South, 
coming  out  of  Virginia  and  Kentucky  and  Tennessee.   Northern 
Indiana  was  populated  by  people  coming  from  upstate  New  York  and 
New  England,  and  attitudes  and  politics  were  quite  different.   The 
Republican  party  was  strongest  in  northern  Indiana.   It  had  some 
pockets  of  support  in  the  south.   The  Democratic  party  was 
strongest  in  southern  Indiana,  with  some  pockets  of  support  in  the 

Although  Republicans  won  the  election  of  1860,  Indiana  had 
always  been  a  kind  of  a  swing  state.   It  would  switch  back  and 
forth  between  Whigs  and  Democrats.   There  was  a  very  substantial 
group  in  Indiana,  largely  in  southern  Indiana- -not  totally  but 
largely—who  had  strongly  favored  compromise  with  the  South.   Some 
of  them  had  even  felt,  as  a  few  Republicans  did,  if  the  South 
wants  to  go,  let  them  go. 




Was  this  because  of  their  Southern  sympathies,  or  some  other 



It  was  because  of  their  Southern  sympathies.  They  were  not 
particularly  antislavery,  and  beyond  that,  there  were  other  fears 
that  Democrats  expressed  even  before  the  war  broke  out:  that  the 
war  would  destroy  American  democracy,  that  it  would  lead  to  a 
dictatorship,  that  it  was  a  bad  idea  to  try  to  hold  a  union 
together  with  bayonets—and  a  union  held  together  with  bayonets 
isn't  really  worth  having.  A  few  Republicans  said  that  too; 
Horace  Greeley,  for  a  while,  said  "Let  the  erring  sisters  depart 
in  peace." 

Would  this  have  been  something  that  had  a  resonance  with  the 
antiwar  feeling  of  your  time?  Or  didn't  you  see  it? 

Possibly.   I  never  thought  of  it  in  those  terms.   I  was  interested 
in  the  peace  Democrats,  who  they  were  and  why  they  were  peace 
Democrats,  and  also  in  the  battle  within  the  Republican  party  in 
Indiana  between  radicals  and  conservatives,  radicals  in  terms  of 
antislavery  sentiments  and  conservatives  much  less  so.   So  my 
decision  then  was  to  do  a  study,  mostly  political,  about  the 
cultural  and  social  conditions  in  Indiana  during  the  war,  and  it 
did  indeed  turn  out  to  be  a  very  interesting  subject. 

The  peace  Democrats  organized  a  secret  society  called  the-- 
first  it  was  called  the  Order  of  American  Knights,  and  then  it  was 
called  the  Sons  of  Liberty,  and  of  course  the  Republicans  almost 
immediately  began  calling  them  traitors.   This  was  a  secret,  pro- 
Southern  organization. 

Among  these  peace  Democrats,  there  was  a  tiny  fragment  that 
really  was  so  pro-Southern  that  they  were  ready  to  give  support  to 
the  South.   There  was  a  famous  conspiracy  trial  in  Indiana  in  1864 
involving  someone  named  Lambdin  P.  Milligan,  who  was  convicted  of 
treason  on  rather  flimsy  grounds.  At  first  he  was  sentenced  to  be 
executed,  then  later  on  President  Johnson  commuted  his  sentence  to 
life  imprisonment.   After  the  war,  his  case  got  into  the  federal 
courts  and  went  up  to  the  United  States  Supreme  Court  on  the 
grounds  that  his  civil  liberties  had  been  violated  because  he  had 
been  tried  by  a  military  court  at  a  time  when  the  regular  federal 
courts  were  open. 

The  Supreme  Court,  in  the  case  of  Ex  parte  Milligan.  a  year 
after  the  war  was  over  in  1866,  ruled  that  Milligan  had  been 
illegally  tried  in  a  military  court  at  a  time  when  the  regular 
courts  were  open.   The  trial  had  been  a  purely  political  gesture 
on  the  eve  of  the  election  of  1864,  when  Morton  was  running  for 


reelection  and  Lincoln  was  running  for  reelection.   So  all  of  that 
made  it  extremely  interesting. 

I  studied  the  peace  Democrats  very  carefully.   In  1862, 
incidentally,  the  Democrats  regained  control  of  the  Indiana 
legislature,  so  there  was  a  battle  royal  between  the  Democratic 
legislature  and  the  Republican  governor.   The  legislature  adopted 
a  number  of  resolutions- -not  calling  for  peace  but  denouncing  the 
Republicans,  denouncing  Lincoln  as  a  dictator.  Legislators  said 
that  this  war  was  being  fought  for  the  benefit  of  Eastern  bankers 
and  manufacturers  at  the  expense  of  Western  farmers. 

That  is  what  interested  me  about  the  peace  Democrats --what 
they  were  saying  about  railroad  interests  and  banking  interests 
and  manufacturing  interests,  and  how  they  were  behind  the 
Republican  party,  and  how  Republicans  were  indifferent  to  the 
interests  of  Western  farmers.   This,  I  think,  is  where  my 
political  background  in  the  thirties  comes  in,  because  it  seemed 
to  me,  and  this  is  really  the  interpretation  I  put  in  my 
dissertation,  that  the  peace  Democrats  were  not  really  pro- 
Southern.  What  they  kept  calling  for  was  an  armistice  and  further 

The  peace  Democrats  themselves  were  broken  up  into  factions. 
One  group  was  ready  for  peace  at  any  price;  another  group  called 
for  an  armistice  and  negotiation  with  the  South—they  were  a 
little  vague  about  what  would  happen  if  the  negotiation  broke 
down,  but  they  never  said,  "Then  we'll  just  let  them  go."  They 
were  ambiguous  about  that. 

What  interested  me  was  the  rhetoric,  the  economic  rhetoric, 
about  railroads  and  railroad  practices  and  about  bankers.  Much  of 
it  sounded  to  me  like  the  rhetoric  of  the  Grangers  after  the  war 
in  the  Midwest,  and  of  the  Populists  at  the  end  of  the  nineteenth 
century  in  the  South  and  in  the  West. 

That  is  the  fundamental  interpretation  of  my  book—that  as 
far  as  the  Democrats  were  concerned,  there  was  only  a  tiny 
fragment,  a  tiny  group,  that  was  actually  ready  to  support  the 
Confederacy.   In  that  group  was  one  of  the  Indiana  senators,  Jesse 
Bright,  who  actually  was  a  slaveholder  and  had  a  plantation  in 
Kentucky.   He  had  apparently  had  some  correspondence  with 
Jefferson  Davis  during  the  secession  crisis  suggesting  sources  of 
military  equipment  for  the  South.   In  1862,  he  was  expelled  from 
the  Senate  for  his  disloyal  activities.   He  was  never  arrested  for 
treason;  the  Senate  just  expelled  him. 

So  that  was  my  interpretation  as  far  as  the  Democrats  were 
concerned.   They  weren't  traitors.   They  were  alarmed  about 


certain  social  and  economic  changes  that  were  taking  place.   They 
were  suspicious  of  the  Republicans  as  tools  of  these  Eastern 
interests,  and  that  was  about  it. 

Maybe  this  is  jumping  ahead—but  I  have  to  tell  you--I  saved 
all  the  notes  for  my  dissertation.   I  found  it  very  hard  to  throw 
notes  away.   For  a  couple  of  reasons,  I  went  back  over  those  notes 
that  I  took  in  the  1930s,  with  the  New  Deal  and  the  economic 
crisis  and  the  Depression- -all  of  that  as  part  of  the  background 
of  my  time. 

Lage:    Looking  at  it  as  an  historian  looking  at  yourself? 

Stampp:   Looking  at  myself  but  looking  at  my  notes,  and  I  found  something 
new  in  them.   I  had  taken  notes,  dutifully  taken  notes  on  it,  but 
I  didn't  give  it  much  emphasis.  What  I  found,  and  what  I 
obviously  would  have  put  much  more  emphasis  on  if  I  had  been 
writing  in  the  1960s,  was  that  these  peace  Democrats,  these  so- 
called  Copperheads,  were  also  terrible  racists. 

Lage:    That  didn't  strike  you  initially? 

Stampp:  Well,  I  have  one  paragraph  in  the  book  where  I  make  some  remark 
about  racism  among  the  Democrats,  but  that  just  didn't  resonate 
with  me  in  the  atmosphere  of  the  1930s,  as  it  obviously  would  have 
in  the  1960s.   There  again  is  something  that  historians  might 
ponder:  how  important  the  times  are  in  which  you  write. 

Lage:    So  someone  else  coming  to  that  in  the  sixties,  or  your  own  self 
coming  to  it  in  the  sixties,  would  have  seen  the  sources 

Stampp:   Right.  Well,  I  once  gave  a  lecture  which  was  published  as  an 

article  called  "Interpreting  History."  I  used  that  as  an  example 
of  the  way  in  which  the  times  in  which  a  historian  lives  has  some 
effect  on  what  interests  him,  what  kind  of  subjects  he  picks,  and 
how  he  interprets  them.   I  would  have  put  a  very  heavy  emphasis  on 
the  racial  demagoguery  of  the  Copperheads—not  that  Republicans 
were  free  of  racial  prejudice,  but  they  never  resorted  to  the  kind 
of  racial  demagoguery  that  Democrats  did. 

Lage:    To  stir  up  people. 

Stampp:   Yes. 

Lage:    Was  that  part  of  the  Populists,  also? 

Stampp:   I  don't  think  so.   I  never  understood  Populism  as  a  racist 

movement.   There  was  racism  among  some  Populists  clearly  enough, 


but  in  this  case,  racism  was  very  important  among  these  peace 
Democrats.  All  you  have  to  do  is  read  their  propaganda,  their 
speeches,  their  papers,  talking  about  the  terrible  consequences  of 
emancipation.   There  would  be  a  black  tide  sweeping  up  into  the 
North  taking  jobs  away  from  white  workers.   There  were  all  kinds 
of  cartoons  and  caricatures  of  blacks.   There  were  claims  that  the 
Republicans  were  in  favor  of  racial  equality,  interracial 
marriages,  and  so  on. 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  a  pamphlet  was  published  by  a  Democrat 
in  1864,  during  the  political  campaign  of  1864,  professing  to  be  a 
Republican  and  advocating  miscegenation.   In  fact,  he  invented 

that  term. 

Lage:    The  word  miscegenation? 

Starapp:   Miscegenation  goes  back  to  the  campaign  of  1864,  as  far  as  I  know. 
I  can't  remember  it  ever  being  used  before  that  —  tongue-in-cheek, 
saying,  "This  would  be  a  good  thing,  it  would  be  a  good  thing  to 
mix  the  races."   That's  the  Democratic  side  of  my  story. 

Now,  the  other  side  of  the  story  that  interested  me  was  the 
battle  between  conservative  Republicans  and  radical  Republicans. 
There  were  two  principal  figures  in  Indiana.   One  was  the  governor 
himself,  Oliver  P.  Morton,  who  was  a  conservative  Republican  on 
slavery  matters.   The  principal  radical  Republican  in  Indiana,  the 
most  interesting  one—and  I  thought  at  one  time  maybe  I  should 
have  written  a  biography  of  him—George  W.  Julian,  a  congressman 
from  a  district  in  east  central  Indiana.   Richmond  is,  I  believe, 
the  county  seat  of  the  county  that  he  lived  in.   I  can't  remember 
the  name  of  it. 

George  W.  Julian— there  were  a  lot  of  Quakers  in  his 
district,  incidentally— was  an  antislavery  radical  before  the 
Civil  War,  before  the  Republican  party  was  born.   He  was  a  Free- 
Soiler,  then  joined  the  Republicans  as  a  Free-Soiler,  and  always 
did  what  he  could  to  make  the  Republican  party  an  antislavery 
party.   He  was  disappointed  in  Lincoln's  nomination  because  he 
didn't  think  Lincoln  was  radical  enough.   He  would  have  liked  to 
have  had  Salmon  P.  Chase  of  Ohio,  who  was  a  political 
abolitionist,  nominated  instead. 

As  soon  as  the  war  broke  out,  Julian  and  others  like  him 
wanted  it  to  become  an  antislavery  crusade.   They  argued  that  just 
fighting  and  never  getting  rid  of  the  root  of  the  war,  which  was 
slavery,  would  be  ridiculous.   To  let  the  war  end  with  slavery 
still  in  existence  would  make  the  war  almost  worthless.   He  didn't 
like  Morton,  and  Morton  didn't  like  him.   Every  two  years  when 


Julian  would  run  for  reelection,  Morton  would  plot  to  get  him  out 
of  Congress. 

That  district,  incidentally,  had  primary  elections  long 
before  they  were  well  known.  There  would  be  a  Republican  primary, 
and  Morton  would  have  a  candidate  and  try  to  get  him  nominated. 

Lage:    So  there  were  really  two  distinct  branches. 

Stampp:   That's  right.   I  found  that  a  fascinating  part  of  the  whole  story. 

Lage:    Did  you  like  Julian  better  than  Morton? 

Stampp:   Oh,  I  liked  Julian  very  much.   He  was  my  hero.  The  book  makes  it 
quite  obvious  that  Julian  is  my  man,  rather  than  Morton,  yes. 

Morton  was  reelected  in  1864  as  governor.   In  1866,  he  was 
elected  by  a  Republican  legislature  to  the  United  States  Senate, 
and  he  was  in  the  Senate  for  the  next  ten  years,  to  1876- - 
actually,  until  1877.   He  died  in  1877.   By  1866  he  had  turned 
against  Andrew  Johnson  and  became  a  radical  Republican,  just 
totally  switched—favored  black  suffrage,  favored  the  radical 
program  of  Reconstruction  in  the  South,  was  a  staunch  supporter  of 
the  Grant  administration,  and  hoped  to  be  the  Republican  candidate 
for  president  in  '76.   It  didn't  work. 

He  continued  to  be  a  potent  and  powerful  man,  but  his  dislike 
for  Julian  never  ended,  and  Julian  finally  lost  out  in  1870,  as  I 
recall.  Morton,  even  though  they  were  both  radicals  now,  got  rid 
of  Julian.   So  that's  basically  the  story. 

Lage:    Do  you  carry  it  forth  into  the  Reconstruction  era? 

Stampp:   No,  I  ended  with  the  end  of  the  war  in  my  dissertation.   I  have  an 
introductory  chapter  on  the  1850s  about  the  formation  of  the 
Republican  party  and  the  election  of  1860;  the  second  chapter  is 
on  the  secession  crisis;  then  the  rest  is  on  the  war  and  the 
social  consequences.   I  have  a  concluding  chapter  that  tries  to 
summarize  my  view  of  what  had  happened  in  society  in  Indiana 
during  the  war  and  to  the  politics  of  Indiana.   That's  where  I 
ended  it. 

After  I  wrote  the  dissertation,  I  reworked  it,  did  some 
cutting,  and  submitted  it  for  publication. 

Lage:    That  was  when  you  came  to  Berkeley? 


Stampp:   No,  that  was  when  I  was  at  the  University  of  Maryland,  and  maybe  I 
had  better  wait  for  that.   Ultimately,  it  was  published.   I  was 
thinking  of  that  all  along,  that  someone  would  publish  it. 

A  Year  in  Indiana 



Stampp : 

To  go  on  with  the  research  for  that  book,  I  had  to  spend  a  year  in 
Indiana.   I  had  my  research  fellowship,  $400,  and  I  think  it  was 
seventeen  dollars  a  month  that  I  got  from  my  aunt  Selma. 

It's  just  such  an  unbelievable  small  amount, 
times,  after  all. 

Those  were  different 

Yes.   What  I  really  should  have  done  after  I  had  taken  my  exams--! 
really  needed  to  take  a  month  off  and  just  rest.   I  was  exhausted. 
I  had  lost  a  lot  of  sleep,  and  my  stomach  was  giving  me  trouble, 
just  from  all  the  tension.  As  soon  as  I  heard  that  I  had  passed 
the  exams,  I  took  a  bus  to  Indianapolis.  My  first  problem  was 
getting  settled. 

I  didn't  know  anyone  in  Indianapolis.   I  wandered  around 
downtown  Indianapolis  and  a  little  ways  out,  and  I  found  a  hotel 
with  the  inappropriate  name  Puritan  Hotel.   I  found  that  I  could 
rent  a  room  in  that  hotel  for  something  like  two  and  a  half 
dollars  a  week,  or  maybe  three  dollars  a  week—very  little.   It 
wasn't  the  most  lovely  hotel  I've  ever  seen  by  any  means,  but  it 
seemed  adequate.   It  was  easy  walking  distance  to  the  Indiana 
State  Library;  that  was  important.   The  room  was  very  plain,  quite 
sparse,  in  fact,  and  didn't  have  a  desk  in  it.   I  said  I  needed  a 
desk,  so  they  found  a  desk  and  brought  it  up  for  me.   I  settled 
in,  I  thought,  possibly  for  the  year. 

Well,  it  turned  out  that  in  the  room  next  to  me  lived  a 
prostitute,  [laughter]  and  that  was  okay,  except  that  things  got 
kind  of  noisy  in  her  room  sometimes. 

Quite  a  ways  from  your  upbringing! 

Yes,  so  I  thought  this  simply  won't  do.   Somebody  suggested  that  I 
try  the  YMCA  hotel.   I  think  I  lasted  at  the  Puritan  Hotel  for 
about  three  weeks,  and  then  told  them  I  was  going  to  leave. 

I  found  the  YMCA,  and  they  had  a  room.   The  cost  was  a  little 
more  but  not  much  more.   It  was  even  closer  to  the  library;  that 
was  fine.   One  of  the  problems--!  seemed  to  have  run  into 
problems—a  man  in  the  room  next  to  mine  was  a  World  War  I  veteran 







who  had  either  been  shell  shocked  or  affected  by  gas,  mustard  gas. 
In  any  case,  he  was  subject  to  fits.  He  would  have  them  sometimes 
in  the  middle  of  the  night.   The  walls  apparently  were  rather 
thin,  and  I  could  hear  this  man  moaning  and  groaning  next  door.   I 
was  still  losing  sleep.   Sometimes  he  would  have  his  fit  somewhere 
in  the  corridor,  and  he  would  be  lying  in  the  corridor,  and  I 
would  have  to  go  and  get  somebody. 

Oh,  dear.   [laughter] 

So  still  more  bad  luck.   I  went  down  in  October,  and  I 
there  until  the  end  of  November. 


Somehow,  I  met  a  young  man  who  had  gone  to  the  University  of 
Pittsburgh.   He  was  my  age,  and  he  belonged  to  the  same  fraternity 
I  had  belonged  to.   In  fact,  I  think  somebody  from  the  fraternity 
wrote  and  told  me  that  there  was  another  Theta  Xi.   He  was  staying 
at  the  YMCA  hotel  at  that  time.   He  worked  for  the  Indianapolis 
Power  and  Light  Company,  he  had  a  decent  job.  We  got  to  know  each 
other,  and  we  finally  decided  that  we  would  see  if  we  couldn't 
find  an  apartment. 

We  went  hunting,  and  we  found  an  apartment  that  we  could 
rent,  I  think,  for  forty  dollars  a  month,  so  it  cost  each  of  us 
twenty  dollars  a  month  for  the  apartment.  We  moved  in  December, 
and  we  lived  together  until  the  following  July  when  I  went  home. 
This  was  very  nice.   He  was  a  very  friendly  guy.   Our  interests 
were  very  different,  but  we  had  weekend  fun. 

He  had  a  girlfriend  at  that  time  —  and  so  did  I,  come  to  think 
of  it.   She  was  teaching  up  in  Dodgeville,  Wisconsin.   I  told  you 
about  meeting  Kay,  didn't  I--Katherine? 

No,  you  have  not.   Is  this  your  first  wife? 

It's  my  first  wife,  yes.   Shall  I  go  back  to  where  I  met  her? 

Yes,  since  you  are  talking  about  personal  life  here,  let's  go 

All  right.   I  was  waiting  table  in  a  fraternity  house  in  the 
summer  of  1938,  and  there  was  a  young  woman  just  about  my  age  who 
taught  high  school.   She  was  a  Wisconsin  graduate,  and  she  taught 
speech  and  dramatics  in  a  high  school  outside  of  Madison  in  a 
little  town  called  Edgerton.   The  day  after  Mary  left,  I  had  a 
date  with  this  woman.   Her  name  was  Katherine  Mitchell.   She  lived 
about  forty  miles  out  of  Madison,  in  Dodgeville.   We  started  going 
out  immediately.   I  can  see  it  all  looking  back--I  mean,  this  was 
a  man  on  the  rebound. 




Stampp : 


Yes,  that's  a  classic  case,  it  sounds  like. 

Absolutely.  My  college  roommate  I  had  mentioned  before,  Bob 
Baldwin,  kept  warning  me  and  warning  me,  "Just  be  careful.   You 
don't  know  what  you're  doing."  Well,  we  went  out  all  summer,  and 
in  September  I  asked  her  to  marry  me. 

This  was  before  you  went  away  to  do  your  research? 

This  was  the  September  before  I  took  my  Ph.D.  exams.   I  took  them 
the  following  month.   1  asked  her  to  marry  me  in  September  1938, 
and  I  took  my  exams  the  following  month.   It's  evidence  of  the 
fact  that  I  didn't  know  what  the  heck  I  was  doing.   She  said  she 
would  marry  me,  and  she  shouldn't  have.   She  should  have  realized 
that  I  was  not- -I  did  not  conceal  my  relationship  with  Mary.   She 
said  she  would  marry  me,  but  we  didn't  get  married  until  December 
of  1939,  so  from  September  1938  to  December  1939,  I  had  time  to 
change  my  mind,  but  I  didn't. 

So  I  did  have  a  girlfriend,  a  fiancee,  when  I  went  down  to 
Indianapolis,  and  so  did  my  roommate. 

Was  she  nearby,  or  how  far  away  was  she? 

She  was  teaching  the  year  I  was  in  Indianapolis.   She  was  teaching 
speech  and  dramatics  in  Edgerton.   She  had  been  teaching  for  some 
years.   Her  home  was  in  Dodgeville,  which  is  about  forty- four 
miles  west  of  Madison. 

Was  her  background  similar  to  yours  at  all — family  and  religion? 

Well,  no,  not  really.   Coincidentally,  I  grew  up  in  a  Methodist 
church,  and  so  did  she,  but  I  had  no  religion  at  this  time.   I 
can't  remember  that  she  had  very  much  either. 

So  we  corresponded.   I  went  home  in  December,  and  I  saw  her 
at  Christmas  time.   In  the  spring  during  her  spring  break,  she 
came  down  to  Indianapolis  and  spent  a  week  down  there,  living  at 
the  YWCA. 


Stampp:   My  life  that  year  was  very  simple:  work.   I  worked  in  the  Indiana 
State  Library  and  the  Indiana  Historical  Bureau.   They  were  both 
in  the  same  building,  but  they  had  different  collections.   In  the 
evening  at  least  five  nights  a  week,  I  went  to  the  Indiana  Public 
Library  and  worked  on  newspapers  for  the  1850s  and  1860s,  and 
that's  about  all  there  was  to  my  life.   I  knew  my  roommate,  I  got 
to  know  the  people  at  the  Indiana  State  Library,  but  I  had 


virtually  no  social  life  while  I  was  down  there.   It  was  just 
work.   Sometimes  my  roommate  and  I  played  two-handed  bridge  at 
night  just  for  diversion.   I  read  when  I  could,  but  it  was  really 
just  the  library  all  day  long. 

Lage:    Was  it  an  unhappy  time,  or  were  you  enjoying  the  work? 

Stampp:   I  think  I  was  kind  of  lonesome  down  there  with  not  knowing 

anybody.   I  had  had  a  rather  active  social  life  in  Madison,  and 
this  was  drudgery  in  some  respects,  but  the  research  was  exciting, 
I  loved  it. 

Lage:    You  found  what  you  were  looking  for. 

Stampp:   Well,  that's  not  the  way  to  put  it.   [laughter]   It  may  be,  but 
that  would  have  been  unconscious.   I  found  lots  of  interesting 
things.   I  was  looking  for  interesting  things,  obviously. 

By  the  end  of  that  year,  by  July,  I  had  almost,  but  not 
quite,  finished  the  work  I  needed  to  do  in  Indiana.   I  went  back 
to  Madison  in  the  summer  of  1939.   Then  I  had  to  try  to  get  some 
sort  of  teaching  so  that  I  could  earn  some  money  because  I  was 
going  to  get  married  in  December. 

I  went  to  the  History  Department,  and  they  decided  they  would 
give  me  a  teaching  assistantship  for  the  third  time.   That's  very 
unusual,  but  these  were  still  Depression  years.   This  time  my 
mentor,  Hesseltine,  did  help.   I  got  a  teaching  assistantship,  and 
I  assisted  him  for  a  third  time. 

In  addition  to  that,  I  went  over  to  the  University  Extension 
division,  and  they  had  one  course  that  needed  to  be  taught.   It 
was  English  history,  and  it  was  in  Fond  du  Lac.   Have  you  ever 
heard  of  Fond  du  Lac? 

Lage:    No. 

Stampp:   All  right.   Fond  du  Lac--in  Wisconsin  it's  simply  called 

"Fondjalac,"  [spells  Fond  du  Lac]--foot  of  the  lake,  I  guess. 
That  would  pay  me  seventy-two  dollars  a  month.   The  teaching 
assistantship  would  pay  me,  I  think  it  was  fifty  dollars  a  month, 
so  I  had  $122  a  month.  That  was  pretty  good  money.   I  bought  a 
secondhand  Ford  for  forty  dollars- -wait  a  minute,  no,  it  was 
seventy  dollars. 

Lage:    This  is  good  memory  for  detail,  remembering  things  like  this. 

Stampp:   I  have  a  good  memory  for  some  things.   Anyway,  I  bought  the  Ford 

which  had  to  have  a  lot  of  things  done  to  it.   It  was  an  open  Ford 


with  these  sort  of  vinyl  curtains  on  the  side,  you  know?   It  was 
pretty  awful.   I  had  to  drive  up  to  Fond  du  Lac  twice  a  week.  As 
I  remember  it,  I  taught  the  course  at  about  five  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon  and  then  drove  back.   Fond  du  Lac  to  Madison  was  about 
sixty  miles,  something  like  that,  so  I  had  to  do  this  twice  a 

Lage:    Who  were  your  students? 

Stampp:   The  University  of  Wisconsin  had  an  extension  division,  and  courses 
were  usually  taught  by  people  just  out  of  graduate  school.   They 
had  extension  classes  all  over  the  state,  and  as  I'll  tell  you 
later,  my  next  year  was  full-time  in  the  extension.   This  year  I 
taught  that  one  course,  English  history,  at  Fond  du  Lac.   The 
students  were—some  were  teachers  who  were  trying  to  get  M.A. 
degrees  to  get  pay  raises,  some  were  young  students  who  were 
economizing  by  living  at  home  and  going  to  university  classes  in 
their  towns --usually  for  a  year  or  at  the  most  two  years,  then 
they  would  come  down  to  Madison  to  finish.   They  were  not  bad 
students;  they  were  pretty  good.   So  that's  how  I  made  my  living. 

This  is  where  Frank  Freidel  comes  in. 

Lage:    Okay,  good. 


Stampp:   In  September  1939,  Frank  Freidel  arrived  in  Madison.   He  was  born 
in  New  York  City  but  grew  up  in  southern  California  in  a  part  of 
Los  Angeles  called  Huntington  Park.   He  had  attended  the 
University  of  Southern  California  as  an  undergrad  and  got  an  M.A. 
there.   He  was  married  when  he  came  to  Madison;  his  wife  had  also 
been  a  student  at  Southern  Cal  and  had  written  a  master's  thesis 
there,  so  they  both  came  with  M.A.'s. 

Frank  was  going  to  be  Hesseltine's  teaching  assistant,  and  so 
the  two  of  us  for  that  year  were  teaching  assistants  together. 
That's  how  that  friendship  developed. 

Lage:    As  you  and  Richard  Current  had  been  earlier. 

Stampp:   In  '36-'37,  I  was  a  T.A.  with  George  Winston  Smith,  '37-'38  with 
Richard  Current,  and  now  '39  to  '40  with  Frank  Freidel. 

Frank  came  from  a  Quaker  family.   He  was  a  pacifist.   His 
attitude  toward  FDR  [Franklin  Delano  Roosevelt]  was  very  much  like 
mine:  hostile.   That's  interesting  because  he  became  a  biographer 
of  FDR.   We  got  on  very  well.   I  liked  his  wife.   They  were  living 
on  a  shoestring,  as  —  actually,  I  was  fairly  affluent. 


Marriage  to  Katherine  Mitchell.  1939 






On  December  twenty-sixth,  I  got  married.  My  wife-to-be  wanted, 
for  reasons  I  don't  understand,  not  to  be  married  in  Wisconsin-- 
oh,  I  think  I  do  understand.   She  wanted  to  go  to  Iowa  to  the 
little  brown  church  in  some  little  town  in  eastern  Iowa,  so  we 

Did  your  family  come? 

No.   Bob  Baldwin,  my  undergraduate  roommate,  went  with  us,  and  her 
best  girlfriend — they  were  our  witnesses—and  the  four  of  us  in  my 
old  jalopy  drove  from  Madison  to  somewhere  in  Iowa.   I  can't 
remember  the  name  of  the  town. 

It  must  have  had  some  special  significance. 

There's  a  "little  brown  church  in  the  vale"  there.   Horrible. 
There  was  a  minister  who  was  obviously  making  his  living  marrying 
people  from  all  over,  and  after  the  ceremony  he  went  out  and  rang 
the  bell.   It  was  one  of  the  most  unhappy  occasions.   My  wife  then 
had  the  flu,  and  she  was  feeling  terrible  that  day  and  crying.   I 
said,  "Well,  you've  got  to  stop  crying  before  I  go  in  and  marry 
you."   [laughter]   We  drove  back  to  Madison  and  had  a  sort  of 
dinner  in  a  restaurant  in  Madison  that  night.   Bob  went  his  way, 
and  Kay's  girlfriend  went  her  way,  and  Kay  and  I  settled  down  to 
married  life. 

We  found  an  apartment  in  Madison,  a  one-room  efficiency,  you 
know  with  a  bed  that  comes  down  from  the  wall- 

Yes,  a  Murphy  bed, 

--and  a  dressing  room  and  bath,  and  that's  where  we  lived  for  the 
rest  of  the  year. 

Did  she  continue  to  teach? 

In  Wisconsin,  if  a  woman  got  married,  she  couldn't  teach. 

That's  amazing. 

We  were  married  in  December.   She  was  able  to  teach  until  the  end 
of  January  to  finish  that  term,  and  then  she  had  to  quit.   Married 
women  could  not  teach  in  those  Depression  years. 

Lage:     So  to  get  married,  you  gave  up  your  income. 






Stampp : 

You  gave  up  your  job. 
Was  it  just  economic? 

It  was  the  Depression.   They  just  simply  didn't  think  that  married 
women  should  be  taking  jobs  away  from  unemployed  men.   [laughter] 
Unemployed  women  didn't  seem  to  count,  and  if  you're  married, 
you're  not  unemployed,  you're  a  housewife. 

Right,  keeping  your  one-room  efficiency. 

Yes,  you're  a  housewife,  so  she  had  to  give  up  her  job.   I  can't 
remember  really  what  she  did  that  year.  There  wasn't  much 
housekeeping  to  do.   She  had  a  lot  of  friends  around  Madison,  so 
that  was  the  way  that  academic  year  ended. 

I  was  still  working  on  my  dissertation.   It  was  not  finished. 
I  really  needed  to  get  back  to  Indianapolis  again  for  a  while.   I 
did  work  again  in  the  Wisconsin  Historical  Society  between  '39  and 
'40,  but  I  hadn't  written  anything  yet.   That's  all  there  was  to 
that  year.   It  was  a  pleasant  year.   I  got  on  with  Hesseltine  all 
right  that  year. 

Did  you  have  to  go  to  his  seminar  again? 

I  was  out  of  graduate  school  as  far  as  that  was  concerned.   No,  I 
had  plenty  of  time  just  to  work  on  my  dissertation. 

I  had  finished  teaching  up  in  Fond  du  Lac  and  the  term  ended 
in  Madison.  It  was  the  same  drudgery  being  a  teaching  assistant, 
making  out  the  exams  and  grading  the  exams  and  attending  lectures 
that  I  was  hearing  for  the  third  time. 

I  had  saved  enough  money  so  that  in  the  summer  of  1940,  Kay 
and  I  went  back  to  Indianapolis.  As  I  remember,  we  must  have  got 
there  some  time  in  late  June  and  stayed  until  early  August,  so  I 
was  there  for  about  six  weeks.  Again,  I  worked  full-time  in  the 
Indiana  State  Library  and  the  Indiana  Historical  Bureau  and  the 
Indianapolis  Public  Library,  and  this  time  I  had  Kay  with  me  to 
type  notes  for  me.   I  would,  in  the  newspapers  in  particular, 
indicate  the  things  that  I  wanted  typed  out,  and  she  would  type 
them  for  me,  so  that  helped. 

By  the  end  of  July  or  early  August,  I  finally  finished  my 
research  on  that  dissertation,  and  I  thought  it  was  time  for  a 
holiday.   So  we  left  Indianapolis  and  headed  east  to  go  and  see 
Dick  Current.  We  had  a  lovely  drive  through  southern  Ohio.   I  had 
never  been  east  before.   I  had  never  been  east  of  Indiana. 
Through  southern  Ohio,  through  West  Virginia,  into  Virginia,  over 


the  Blue  Ridge,  we  drove  along  the  Blue  Ridge,  into  Washington 
[DC] .  We  found  a  motel  in  Washington,  and  we  spent  three  nights 
and  two  days  in  Washington,  just  seeing  the  city. 

Trip  to  Washington.  D.C..  durine  Wartime  Debates.  1940 

Stampp:   I  had  a  letter  of  introduction  to  my  senator,  Robert  M. 

LaFollette,  and  he  gave  us  passes  to  the  Senate.  We  were  there  on 
a  day  when  they  were  debating  foreign  policy,  as  they  were  much  of 
the  time.   This  is  when  foreign  policy  was  rather  hot  stuff, 
whether  we  should  help—the  summer  of  1940  was  after  the  fall  of 
France,  and  the  battle  of  Britain  was  going  on,  and  the  fight  was 
being  waged  hot  and  heavy  in  the  United  States  Senate  over 
American  aid  to  the  Allies. 

Lage:    Were  you  engaged  with  all  of  these  issues? 

Stampp:   I  was  very  much  engaged.   I  thought  of  World  War  II  at  the 

beginning  very  much  in  terms  of  World  War  I.   I  shared  the  views 
my  father  had  in  the  First  World  War  that  this  was  another 
imperialist  war,  that  there  was  nothing  to  choose  between  the  two 
sides,  and  I  wanted  the  United  States  to  keep  out.   I  was  bitterly 
opposed  to  Roosevelt's  foreign  policy,  and  was  convinced  that  he 
wanted  to  get  the  U.S.  involved. 

Lage:    Did  you  keep  up  your  activity  with  political  groups  and  meetings? 

Stampp:   No.   I  was  really  academic  now,  but  these  were  my  feelings,  my 
thoughts.  My  major  professor  shared  these  views,  Frank  Freidel 
shared  these  views,  Dick  Current  shared  these  views.   There  was  a 
whole  group  of  graduate  students  that  shared  these  views.   We  were 
called  isolationists. 

I  never  thought  of  myself  as  an  isolationist.   I  was  an 
internationalist  in  that  I  had  always  favored  American  entrance 
into  the  League  of  Nations,  and  I  had  always  wanted  the  United 
States  to  join  the  World  Court.   I  had  read  an  awful  lot  in  the 
1930s  about  how  the  United  States  got  involved  in  the  First  World 
War.   I  knew  about  the  Nye  Committee,  the  famous  Nye  Committee,  in 
their  investigation  of  the  role  of  munitions  makers  and  bankers 
and  propagandists,  so  I  really  was  very  strongly  opposed  to  our 
getting  involved  in  the  war  and  to  Roosevelt's  foreign  policy. 

Now  I  remember  a  remark  that  my  professor  made  after  the 
election  of  1936.   I  voted  for  Norman  Thomas  but  hoped  that 
Roosevelt  would  win,  wanting  it  both  ways,  and  I  was  scared  to 





death  that  Landon  might  beat  him.   There  was  a  magazine--!  don't 
know  whether  you've  ever  heard  of  the  Literary  Digest  —  that  had  a 
poll  which  indicated  that  Landon  was  going  to  win.   That  was  the 
end  of  that  magazine,  by  the  way.  What  they  did  was  call  people 
on  the  telephone  and  find  out  how  they  were  going  to  vote.  Well, 
an  awful  lot  of  people  in  1936  didn't  have  telephones,  and  they 
were  people  who  were  going  to  vote  for  FDR.   [laughter] 

The  early  days  of  polling. 

That's  right.  So  the  Digest's  prediction  was  enough  to  scare  me, 
but  it  was  a  disaster  for  the  Literary  Digest.  Roosevelt  carried 
all  but  six  states,  as  I  recall—no,  he  carried  all  but  Maine  and 

Vermont . 

Yes,  it  was  a  real  landslide. 

Yes.   He  carried  all  but  Maine  and  Vermont, 
ceased  publication  soon  after  that. 

The  Literary  Digest 

Do  you  think  it  was  related? 

Oh,  absolutely.   It  was  thoroughly  discredited. 

Getting  back  to  19AO,  I  still  felt,  even  after  the  fall  of 
France  and  the  battle  of  Britain,  that  we  should  keep  out.   I 
didn't  want  us  to  get  involved. 

So  we  were  in  Washington,  and  I  had  two  days  to  see 
Washington.   I  walked  the  legs  off  of  my  poor  wife,  who  was  far 
less  interested  in  Washington  than  I  was,  but  I  had  to  see 

After  that,  we  drove  to  Annapolis,  and  I'm  a  little  vague 
here.   I  think  there  was  already  a  bridge  across  Chesapeake  Bay. 
Dick  Current  was  teaching  at  Eastern  Maryland  State  College,  on 
the  eastern  shore  of  Maryland.   I  can't  remember  the  name  of  the 
town,  but  he  had  been  teaching  there  since  the  fall  of  1938.   He 
took  his  exams,  as  I  told  you,  and  passed  them  in  the  spring  of 
'38,  and  then  went  off  there  and  taught  and  wrote  his 
dissertation.   He  wrote  a  biography  of  Thaddeus  Stevens  for  his 
dissertation,  and  by  the  time  I  got  there,  in  1940,  he  had 
finished  it  and  had  his  Ph.D. 

I  had  a  lovely  reunion  with  Dick,  spent  about  four  or  five 
days  there.   His  wife  was  something  less  than  enthusiastic  about 
having  Kay  and  me  suddenly  descending.   In  fact,  she  simply  let 
Dick  do  all  the  cooking. 


Lage:    Which  probably  was  unusual  in  those  days. 

Stampp:   Dick  and  I  had  a  marvelous  time.  We  managed  to  get  off  by 

ourselves  and  go  to  his  office.   Dick  would  say,  "I  must  take  you 
to  my  office,"  and  we  sat  and  had  long  talks  about  politics  and 
foreign  policy  and  our  careers  and  our  research  interests. 

Circuit  Rider  for  University  of  Wisconsin  Extension 




Some  time  in  August  we  left  and  drove  through  Pennsylvania- - 
through  the  beautiful  farmland  of  southeastern  Pennsylvania, 
through  Ohio  and  back  to  Milwaukee. 

Some  time  before  that,  I  had  succeeded  in  getting  a  full-time 
job  in  the  University  Extension,  and  in  September  1940,  Kay  and  I 
moved  to  Rhinelander,  Wisconsin.   That's  way  up  in  northern 
Wisconsin,  up  in  the  north  woods,  an  area  I  loved  because  I  had 
gone  up  there  many  times  on  vacations. 

So  this  appealed  to  you  as  a  place  to  spend  some  time? 

For  one  year,  I  thought  it  was  great.   The  job  was  going  to  pay  me 
$1,800  a  year—that  was  for  ten  months  —  so  my  salary  suddenly 
became  $180  a  month,  and  that  was  a  lot  to  me.   We  found  a  nice 
apartment  in  a  house  that  had  been  made  into  apartments.  My 
teaching  involved  four  towns.   I  taught  one  course  in  Rhinelander 
twice  a  week,  then  I  had  to  go  north  of  Rhinelander  about  twenty- 
five  miles,  I  think,  to  a  town  called  Eagle  River.   I  had  to  go 
there  twice  a  week.   Those  I  did  on  the  same  day. 

Then  I  had  another  circuit.   I  had  to  drive  down  to  Wausau 
and  to  Antigo.   I  would  do  that  twice  a  week.   I  would  teach  in 
the  morning  in  Wausau  and  in  the  afternoon  in  Antigo.   Each  class 
ran  for  an  hour  and  a  half.  That  meant  I  was  teaching  twelve 
hours  a  week. 

In  different  fields? 

American  history  and  English  history,  yes.  I  wouldn't  have  wanted 
to  stay  there  more  than  a  year  or  maybe  two,  but  certainly  no  more 
than  that.  It  was  rather  interesting  riding  circuit. 

Northern  Wisconsin  is  very  different  from  southern  Wisconsin. 
It's  colder,  it  began  snowing  in  November,  and  I  never  saw  the 
ground  again  until  April.   What  I  liked  about  it  was  that  you 
didn't  get  those  terrible  thaws  that  you  would  get  in  southern 



Wisconsin,  where  suddenly  you  would  have  a  warm  day  and  you  would 
have  slush  all  around.   This  was  good,  cold  weather,  and  1  was 
dressed  properly.   I  had  galoshes  that  came  up  to  here  and  an 
overcoat  that  came  down  to  here  and  thick  mittens  and  ear  muffs . 

Lage:    Were  the  roads  clear  so  you  could  get  around? 

Stampp:   I  never  missed  a  class  all  winter  long.   Sometimes  I  would  have  to 
follow  the  snowplow.   I  had  no  chains,  but  they  knew  how  to  take 
care  of  snow  up  there.  As  soon  as  there  was  a  threat  of  snow,  the 
snowplows  were  on  the  ready.   So  I  never  missed  a  class  all  winter 

Did  you  like  the  teaching?   Did  you  lecture? 

Yes,  but  the  classes  were  small,  twenty-five  to  thirty-five 
students,  so  the  lectures  were  very  informal.   I  didn't  have  to 
stand  up  with  a  mike  or  anything  like  that.   I  just  sat  and  talked 
to  them.   They  had  reading  assignments,  of  course,  and  I  had  to 
grade  all  the  papers,  but  it  was  a  nice  year. 

As  I  recall,  I  managed  to  write  three  chapters  of  my 
dissertation  up  there. 

Lage:    And  teach  these  four  classes. 

Stampp:   As  well  as  teach,  yes.   It  was  a  year  of  hard  work. 

I  should  mention  that  1940  was  when  young  men  had  to  register 
for  the  draft,  so  in  Rhinelander  I  registered  for  the  draft. 

Lage:    What  were  your  feelings  about  that? 
Stampp:   I  was  not  happy  about  it,  but  I  did  it. 


University  of  Arkansas,  1941-42;  Life  and  Teaching  in  Fayetteville 

Stampp:   In  June  1941,  we  moved  back  down  to  Madison.   Some  time  while  I 
was  up  in  Rhinelander,  I  had  a  letter  from  a  young  professor  who 
used  to  teach  at  the  University  of  Wisconsin,  his  name  was  Fred 
Harvey  Harrington.   He  was  a  Ph.D.  from  New  York  University,  and 
he  was  the  young  man  in  the  History  Department  there,  in  American 
history.   I  got  to  know  him  fairly  well  the  year  that  I  was 
Hesseltine's  teaching  assistant  and  teaching  in  Fond  du  Lac.   They 
came  over  to  see  Kay  and  me  a  number  of  times,  and  we  went  to  see 

The  next  year,  the  year  I  was  in  Rhinelander,  he  left 
Madison  to  go  to  the  University  of  Arkansas  to  become  head  of  the 
Department  of  History  and  Political  Science  as  a  full  professor. 
Some  time  in  the  late  spring  of  1941,  I  heard  from  Hesseltine  and 
got  a  letter  from  Harrington  that  there  was  a  one-year  job. 
Somebody  was  going  on  leave  at  the  University  of  Arkansas,  and 
Harrington  wanted  to  offer  it  to  me.   I  took  it. 

Lage:    Were  jobs  few  and  far  between? 

Stampp:   Oh,  they  were  almost  impossible.   There  just  weren't  jobs.   I  had 
applied  for  one  job  that  year  at  Western  Reserve,  but  no  chance. 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  on  my  way  to  Indianapolis  in  the  summer 
of  1940,  I  made  a  big  detour  to  Western  Illinois  State  Teachers 
College  in  McComb,  Illinois,  because  there  was  a  job  there  with  a 
future.   I  carried  in  my  pocket  a  letter  from  Hesseltine 
guaranteeing  the  president  of  the  college  that  I  would  have  my 
degree.   How  I  would  ever  have  written  my  dissertation,  I  don't 
know.   [laughter] 

I  had  an  interview  and  told  them  something  that  wasn't  quite 
true,  that  I  was  just  on  my  way  through  or  something  (it  was  a  big 






detour  to  get  there) .   I  had  an  interview,  and  I  showed  my  letter 
about  how  I  would  get  my  degree.   He  said,  "Well,  Mr.  Stampp,  you 
can  walk  down  the  corridor  there  and  meet  Professor  So-and-so.   He 
arrived  here  twelve  years  ago  with  the  promise  that  he  would  have 
his  degree,  and  he  still  doesn't  have  it." 

He  didn't  want  someone  who  didn't  have  his  Ph.D.  yet. 

Then  he  showed  me  a  pile  on  his  desk  this  high,  and  he  said, 
"These  are  200  applications  for  this  job."  I  didn't  get  it.  A 
man  with  a  Ph.D.  from  Harvard  got  the  job,  and  that  was  a  lucky 
break  for  me. 

Ph.D.'s  from  Harvard  were  what  they  were  getting? 

Jobs  were  almost  nonexistent,  so  I  was  delighted  to  take  the  job 
at  Arkansas.  I  could  have  had  one  more  year  on  the  extension;  I 
could  have  had  a  second  year. 

So  in  June  we  went  back  down  to  Madison,  and  we  found  an 
apartment.   It  was  a  terribly  hot  summer,  I  remember,  and  I  spent 
the  whole  summer  writing  my  dissertation.   Before  the  summer  was 
over,  I  had  it  all  written  except  one  concluding  chapter.   I 
showed  it  all  to  Hesseltine,  and  he  approved  it,  thought  it  was 
good.   I'm  not  very  good  in  heat,  especially  humid  heat,  the  kind 
we  had  in  Wisconsin.   I  can  remember  sitting  in  a  bathtub  with  a 
big  board  on  the  side,  writing  in  the  bathtub  in  cool  water  with 
my  notes  there. 

There  should  have  been  a  picture  of  that. 

[laughter]   Yes,  there  should  have.   It  was  a  frightfully  hot 

By  September,  I  had  just  one  last  chapter,  about  fifteen  or 
twenty  pages,  I  had  to  write,  and  early  in  September,  we  started 
for  Fayetteville,  Arkansas. 

What  an  experience. 

That's  where  I  taught  for  the  year  1941- '42. 
It  was  just  a  one-year  job? 

It  was  a  one-year  fill-in  job.   This  was  the  Department  of  History 
and  Political  Science.   Unfortunately,  the  man  on  leave  was  a 
political  scientist,  which  meant  that  I  was  going  to  be  teaching 
just  about  everything  except  what  I  was  qualified  to  teach. 


I  was  told  before  I  got  there  that  I  would  have  to  teach  a 
course  in  American  government  (that  wasn't  too  difficult),  a 
course  in  state  and  local  government  with  special  emphasis  on  the 
government  of  Arkansas. 

Lage:    You  would  need  a  little  preparation  for  that,  probably. 

Stampp:   I  sure  did.   It  was  1941,  and  the  United  States  was  well  on  the 

way  to  being  involved  in  the  war.  Lend-Lease  had  been  passed,  and 
the  United  States  was  helping  to  convoy  supplies  to  Britain  and  to 
Russia  by  then.   Harrington,  who  was  ever  an  opportunist,  said, 
"Given  these  circumstances,  I  think  it  might  be  a  good  idea  for 
you  to  teach  a  course  in  national  defense  problems."  I'm  the  guy 
to  teach  that.   [laughter] 

Lage:    Right!   Did  Harrington  share  any  of  your  political  background  or 
know  about  it? 

Starapp:   Well,  Harrington  was  a  very  cagey  man  politically.   He  knew  how 
Hesseltine  felt  about  the  war.   He  also  knew  about  Hicks  and 
Curtis  Nettels,  the  other  two,  who  were  ardent  supporters  of 
Roosevelt's  foreign  policy.   He  was  cautious.   He  knew  how  I  felt. 


Stampp:   In  Fayetteville  we  found  a  wonderful  fully- furnished  apartment  for 
forty-two  dollars  a  month:  two  bedrooms,  a  good-sized  living  room, 
dining  room,  and  kitchen.  We  settled  in,  and  I  really  felt  this 
was  great. 

Fayetteville  is  way  up  in  the  northeast  corner  of  Arkansas 
in  the  Ozarks--well,  north  of  Fayetteville  are  the  Ozarks.   Then 
south  are  a  series  of  not  terribly  high  mountains,  about  2,000 
feet,  called  the  Boston  Mountains,  and  Fayetteville  was  in  a 
valley.   It  was  a  charming  little  town,  terribly  isolated.   The 
nearest  city  was  Tulsa,  Oklahoma,  which  was  seventy  miles  away. 

Lage:    How  large  a  town? 

Stampp:   About  twenty- five  hundred  people.   The  University  of  Arkansas  had 
a  student  body  of  about  3,000.   This  is  the  only  place  in  my  life 
where  I,  with  my  salary--!  also  taught  summer  school,  so  I  got  a 
few  hundred  extra  for  that- -of  $1,800  a  year,  was  in  a  really 
upper  income  group,  so  much  so  that  all  the  merchants  descended, 
sending  me  little  gifts  and  asking  me  to  open  charge  accounts. 

Lage:    That  must  have  been  a  very  new  experience  for  you. 


Stampp:   Yes.   Fayetteville  was  surrounded  by  submarginal  farmers,  real 

Arkies,  who  used  to  come  into  town  on  Saturdays.   Fayetteville  was 
the  county  seat,  so  there  was  a  big  red-brick  courthouse  in  a 
square  in  the  middle,  and  they  used  to  gather  there  in  their 
jalopies  and  just  sit  around—well,  they  did  their  shopping—but 
just  sit  around  and  visit. 

Lage:    Was  there  much  of  a  black  population? 

Stampp:   Very  small.   This  is  not  cotton  country;  this  is  really  hillbilly 
country.   It  was  a  very  low-income  area  outside  of  the  town. 

You  asked  about  the  black  population:  there  was  a  very  small 
black  population,  couldn't  have  been  more  than  sixty  or  seventy 
blacks  in  Fayetteville,  but  the  Southern  rules  all  applied.   They 
were  not  admitted  to  the  white  schools,  they  were  segregated  in 
every  social  aspect,  and  did  not  vote.   I  remember  the  Methodist 
minister  coming  around  and  calling  on  me  and  inviting  Kay  and  me 
to  go  to  his  church,  telling  me  that  they  had  set  up  such  a  nice 
little  mission  for  the  "colored"  people,  which  made  me  just  die  to 
go  to  his  church.   [laughter] 

Lage:    How  forthright  were  you  able  to  be  about  your  own  views? 
Stampp:   I'll  talk  about  that. 

Let  me  tell  you  a  little  bit  about  the  University  of 
Arkansas  at  that  time.   The  president  of  the  University  of 
Arkansas  the  year  before  I  arrived—that  is,  from  1940  to  '41— was 
Bill  [J.  William]  Fulbright.   Fayetteville  was  his  hometown. 
Fulbright  had  just  been  fired  as  the  president  of  the  University 
of  Arkansas  because,  as  I  heard,  he  had  backed  the  wrong  man  for 
governor  in  1940.   The  University  of  Arkansas  was  deep  in 
politics.   They  had  a  new  president  whose  name  was  Harding,  and  I 
never  really  got  to  know  him  very  well. 

Lage:    Was  this  the  one  and  only  campus  of  the  University  of  Arkansas? 

Stampp:  At  that  time,  Fayetteville  was  the  one  and  only  campus.  There  was 
a  black  college,  probably  down  in  Little  Rock  but  certainly  not  in 

I  said  I  was  sort  of  in  the  upper  income  bracket,  but  there 
was  Mrs.  Fulbright  and  Bill  Fulbright  who  lived  up  on  the  hill, 
and  they  were  the  real  aristocracy.   Mrs.  Fulbright  owned  the 
local  newspaper,  she  owned  the  Coca-Cola  bottling  works,  which  is 
big  business  in  the  South,  and  she  owned  the  textile  mill  which 
was  just  outside  of  town. 


The  textile  mill  had  mill  workers—all  white,  of  course; 
blacks  were  never  hired  in  the  South  as  mill  workers  in  those 
days.   The  mill  workers  lived  on  an  unpaved  street,  a  row  of 
shacks,  no  electricity,  no  indoor  plumbing.   If  there  was  anything 
I  needed  to  really  rouse  my  Marxist  feelings,  it  was  to  go  out  and 
stand  on  the  edge  of  this  little  row  of  shacks,  then  look  up  the 
hill  at  Mrs.  Fulbright's  mansion  up  on  the  top. 

Lage:    It  was  pretty  clear. 
Stampp:   It  was  pretty  clear,  right. 

Well,  the  university,  although  it  was  certainly  not  located 
anywhere  in  the  South,  was  quite  Southern.   The  faculty  was 
overwhelmingly  Southern.   It  used  to  be,  according  to  the  stories 
I  heard,  that  the  affluent  cotton  growers  in  southern  Arkansas  in 
good  days  used  to  send  their  sons  to  Vanderbilt,  and  in  bad  days  — 
and  these  were  bad  days—they  sent  them  to  the  University  of 
Arkansas—no  tuition,  just  little  fees. 

The  faculty  was  very  Southern.   My  colleagues  in  the  History 
Department  except  for  Fred  Harrington  came  out  of  the  South.   I 
remember  another  political  scientist  came  from  Mississippi. 

In  my  political  science  course,  I  got  to  voting  patterns  in 
the  United  States.   I  talked  about  the  disenfranchisement  of 
blacks  in  the  South  to  my  students.   I  went  to  this  political 
scientist—his  name  was  Henry  Alexander- -the  man  from  Mississippi. 
I  said,  "Henry,  I  want  to  talk  to  you  about— how  they  stop  blacks 
from  voting  in  Mississippi?"  I  couldn't  get  an  answer.   Henry 
would  just  say,  "In  Mississippi,  blacks  don't  vote.   Period."   I 
said,  "Why  not?"  He  said,  "Well,  I  told  you.   In  Mississippi, 
blacks  don't  vote.   Period." 

Lage:    This  is  the  political  scientist. 
Stampp:   That  was  the  end  of  that. 

I  got  on  with  the  students  very  well.   I  taught  my  political 
science  course;  that  wasn't  very  hard  at  all.   State  and  local 
government  was  pretty  awful,  and  I  remember  making  one  terrible 
mistake.   I  had  to  keep  reading,  to  keep  ahead  of  the  students, 
some  book  on  state  and  local  government,  and  according  to  one 
book,  Arkansas  was  one  of  the  few  states  in  the  union  that  didn't 
have  a  lieutenant  governor,  and  I  told  this  to  the  class.   Well, 
it  happened  that  since  that  book  was  published,  Arkansas  had 
introduced  a  lieutenant  governor,  and  one  of  my  students  corrected 
me  on  that.   [laughter] 






They  must  have  realized  you  were  a  little  out  of  your  element. 
How  did  the  community  accept  you  and  your  wife? 

Oh,  very  well.   They  were  really  lovely  people,  and- -it  was  very 
Southern.  The  social  life  was  very  Southern.   I  was  told  by  the 
Harringtons,  "You're  in  the  South  now,  and  you  had  better  have 
some  calling  cards,"  so  I  had  some  printed.   Sure  enough,  on 
Sundays  couples  would  come  and  call  on  you,  and  then  after  sitting 
about  a  bit,  they  would  leave  their  cards  on  the  table  as  they 
walked  out.   Then  we  had  to  return  the  calls.  All  of  this  was 
strange  to  me. 

I  did  manage  to  get  into  one  group  that  I  enjoyed  very  much. 
This  consisted  of  the  town  doctor;  Henry  Alexander,  the  political 
scientist  with  whom  I  got  on  all  right  in  spite  of  his  funny 
notions;  and  a  couple  of  other  members  of  the  history  and 
political  science  department,  for  poker  games.   Fred  Harrington 
was  in  there,  too.  This  was  a  men-only  thing.  We  had  poker 
parties  every  now  and  then  which  I  really  enjoyed. 

I  took  up  golf.   I  had  played  golf  a  little  bit  in  high 
school,  and  I  was  never  very  good.   There  was  one  man  in  the 
department  who  loved  golf,  so  I  played  golf  with  him  several 
times.   I  have  never  played  golf  since—wait  a  minute,  I  did  a 
little  bit  in  Berkeley  later  on. 

My  wife  was  pregnant  when  we  got  there.   I'm  trying  to  think 
of  what  else  to  say  about  that  year. 

I  would  like  to  hear  something  about  the  national  defense  class, 
how  that  went. 

That  turned  out  very  well.   You  know  what  I  did?   I  turned  it  into 
a  history  of  national  defense  problems.  National  defense  problems 
during  the  American  Revolution,  national  defense  problems  during 
the  American  Civil  War,  and  national  defense  problems  during  the 
First  World  War,  and  a  lot  about  corrupt  contractors.   I  made  it  a 
thoroughly  shabby  story  [laughs]  and  got  through  the  course.   I 
had  them  do  some  reading  on  contemporary  national  defense.   I 
found  some  articles  in  Harper's,  let  them  read  those. 

Was  there  debate?  Was  it  a  free  atmosphere  where  you  felt  like 
you  could  really  raise  questions,  like  should  we  be-- 

Should  we  be  in  the  war? 

This  was  the  year  we  got  in  the  war,  wasn't  it? 




This  is  the  year;  this  is  the  year  of  Pearl  Harbor,  which  came  in 
December,  and  I  was  teaching  this  course  right  in  the  middle  of 
it.   Yes,  I  had  better  back  up. 

Pearl  Harbor  came  on  Sunday,  December  seventh.   Fred 
Harrington  and  his  wife  came  over,  and  Fred  said,  "Well,  this 
changes  everything."  I  said,  "Not  for  me,  it  doesn't."  I  was 
convinced  that  FDR  had  done  everything  he  could  to  maneuver  the 
Japanese  into  an  attack.   He  didn't  expect  it  where  it  came;  he 
probably  thought  it  would  come  in  the  Philippines.  Anyway,  I 
didn't  feel  any  differently  at  that  time. 

I  wanted  the  Allies  to  win  by  then.   Once  the  Soviet  Union 
was  invaded,  then  I  became  much  more  interested  in  the  war.   I 
still  wanted  us  to  keep  out,  but  I  certainly  wanted  the  Allies  to 
win.   I  was  just  following  the  kind  of  party  line.   The  Soviet 
Union  was  in  favor  of  American  neutrality  until  the  Soviet  Union 
was  attacked.  American  Communists  wanted  America  to  keep  out  of 
the  war  until  the  Soviet  Union  was  attacked,  and  then  everything 

You  may  have  wanted  the  Allies  to  win,  but-- 

I  wanted  the  Allies  to  win,  and  I  was  hoping  that  the  Soviet  Union 
could  succeed  in  resisting  the  Nazi  attack.   I  still  didn't  want 
the  United  States  to  get  involved  in  the  war,  though. 

Ph.D.  Oral  Exams  with  Hesseltine,  Higby,  and  Perlman:  December  10, 

Stampp:   That  fall—it's  all  connected  with  Pearl  Harbor--!  finished  the 

last  chapter  of  my  dissertation,  and  I  was  to  go  back  to  Madison. 
Pearl  Harbor  was  on  the  seventh,  I  think  it  was  a  Sunday,  and  I 
was  to  go  back  to  Madison  and  take  my  Ph.D.  exams  the  following 
Wednesday,  I  believe. 

Lage:    Now,  would  this  be  defending  your  dissertation? 

Stampp:   It  was  more  than  that.   In  addition  to  all  those  written  exams  I 
talked  about,  you  had  to  go  back  and  take  a  two-hour  oral  after 
your  dissertation.   Your  dissertation  was  involved,  but  it  was 
more  than  that.   Frank  Freidel  was  to  go  back,  too.   He  had 
finished  his  dissertation,  and  Frank  got  a  job  at  a  little  college 
in  Alton,  Illinois,  called  Shurtleff  College,  or  Shirtless,  as  it 
was  sometimes  called.   His  salary  was  $1,600  a  year  at  Shurtleff. 









The  year  that  I  had  been  teaching  full  time  for  the 
Extension,  I  bought  a  new  car.   I  bought  a  nice  Ford,  a  brand-new 
Ford  coupe  two-door.   I  had  that  down  there,  so  I  was  to  drive  the 
day  after  Pearl  Harbor  up  to  Alton,  Illinois,  pick  up  Frank,  then 
the  next  day  the  two  of  us  would  drive  up  to  Madison.   He  would 
take  his  exam  one  day,  and  I  would  take  mine  the  next  day. 

We  got  to  Madison,  and  the  atmosphere  was  amazing.   Except 
for  Hesseltine,  the  European  historians  were  just  very  rabid 
supporters  of  Roosevelt's  foreign  policy,  and  of  course  terribly 
upset  by  Pearl  Harbor. 

I  think  I  took  my  oral  exam  on  the  tenth  of  December.   That 
day  I  think  their  minds  were  on  Pearl  Harbor  and  other  things  more 
than  my  exam.   They  did  ask  some  questions.   I  had  my  usual 
trouble  with  Chester  Penn  Higby,  the  European  historian,  who  asked 
me  some  impossible  questions.   Selig  Perlman,  the  man  with  whom  I 
took  my  outside  field  in  economics,  labor  history  and  socialism 
and  capitalism,  was  on  the  committee.   He  thought  my  dissertation 
was  excellent.   I  got  by  with  everyone  except  Higby. 

After  it  was  over,  I  was  sent  out  then  called  back  in,  and 
everyone  congratulated  me  except  Higby.  He  just  walked  out  and 
never  said  a  word  to  me. 

Now,  was  this  something  between  the  two  of  you,  or  was  he  like 

I  had  never  taken  any  courses  from  him,  remember? 
Oh,  that's  right,  you  didn't  take  his  classes. 

Yes.   He  could  never  forgive  me  for  that,  even  though  I  had  given 
him  an  explanation.   I  think  I  did  very  well  in  my  oral  exam. 

So  I  passed,  and  I  was  a  Ph.D.  at  last. 
What  a  momentous  time  for  that. 

Frank  passed  also.   Frank  and  I  both  stayed  with  the  Hesseltines 
at  that  time.   Hesseltine  was  very  good.   He  did  everything  he 
could  to  calm  me  down.   I  was  terribly  nervous  about  the  exam  and 
couldn't  eat  any  lunch,  I  remember. 

Was  Freidel  nervous  also? 

Yes,  he  was  nervous,  too.   It's  nerve-racking. 


Then  I  went  from  Madison,  after  I  passed  my  exam,  to 
Milwaukee  just  overnight  to  see  my  parents.   I  had  a  week's  leave, 
I  guess,  from  the  University  of  Arkansas.   I  had  an  invitation 
from  the  Indiana  Historical  Society  to  come  to  Indianapolis  and 
talk  about  anything.  They  were  interested  in  me  because  of  my 
dissertation  on  Indiana  politics. 

I  arrived  there  and  stayed  overnight--!  guess  I  stayed  two 
nights  there—and  went  to  a  breakfast  meeting.   I  was  supposed  to 
talk  on  anything.   I  thought,  "Who's  thinking  about  anything 
except  the  war?"  It  was  at  a  breakfast  with  maybe  forty  people 
there,  all  historians  from  the  University  of  Indiana,  from  Butler 
University  and  a  number  of  other  smaller  institutions.   I  decided 
to  talk  on  the  role  of  the  historian  or  the  duty  of  the  historian 
in  time  of  war.   I  reminded  some  of  the  older  men  about  how  some 
historians  had  behaved  during  World  War  I,  when  they  became  Four 
Minute  Men  and  ran  around  spreading  war  propaganda. 

I  said,  "I  don't  think  that's  what  historians  ought  to  be 
doing.   I  think  you've  got  a  new  generation  of  students,  and  I 
think  you  ought  to  keep  on  teaching  history- -and  teach  good 
history."  It  went  over  very  well.  Anyone  who  didn't  like  it 
didn't  say  anything,  because  there  were  a  lot  of  people  who  did 
like  it:  in  other  words,  don't  just  become  propagandists  or  agents 
of  the  government. 

I  got  back  to  Fayetteville,  and  on  March  23  my  son  was  born, 
so  he' s  an  Arkie. 

Lage:    What  is  his  name? 

Stampp:   This  was  not  my  doing--my  wife  wanted  him  named  Kenneth,  and  so  he 
took  my  first  name  and  my  wife's  second  name,  Mitchell.   So  he's 
Kenneth  Mitchell  Stampp. 

This  is  irrelevant,  really,  but  we  were  both  terribly 
conscientious  parents.   This  was  before  [Benjamin  M. ]  Spock,  and 
the  wisdom  of  the  time  was  that  it's  best  for  babies  to  be  on 
rigid  schedules.   I  can  remember  our  being  very  conscientious 
about  doing  everything  on  schedule.   If  our  son  got  hungry  a  half 
hour  before  time,  he  just  darn  well  would  have  to  wait.   He  would 
cry,  but  we  would  sit  and  look  at  our  watches.   Isn't  that  awful? 

Lage:     [laughs]   Yes.  My  mother  has  told  me  that  same  thing. 

Stampp:   The  spring  came,  and  I  began  thinking  about  1942- 'A3.   I  kept 

hoping  that  something  might  turn  up  at  Arkansas,  but  nothing  did 
turn  up.   Some  time  in  the  spring  I  thought,  I  can  go  back  to 


Wisconsin  and  teach  for  the  Extension  one  more  year,  so  I  knew  I 
was  safe  for  another  year. 

Hired  at  University  of  Maryland.  19A2 

Stampp:   Some  time  in  the  spring,  Fred  Harrington  and  Hesseltine  heard 

about  a  job  at  the  University  of  Maryland.   The  man  with  whom  I 
had  been  a  teaching  assistant  the  first  time,  George  Winston 
Smith,  who  had  his  degree  by  then,  was  teaching  at  American 
University  in  Washington,  D.C.   It  wasn't  a  great  place,  so  he 
wanted  the  Maryland  job,  too.   Harrington,  who  knew  both  George 
and  me,  said,  "Well,  you  know,  George  can  get  that  job  at 
Maryland.   You  can  get  the  job  at  American  University,  his  job." 

This  didn't  happen  very  of ten- -it  was  one  time  when  I 
decided  I  was  going  to  be  a  bit  aggressive.   I  said,  "Well,  look. 
They  have  my  dossier  at  Maryland  as  well  as  George's.   I  want  to 
be  a  candidate  for  the  Maryland  job." 

I  was,  and  I  got  it.  They  decided  to  hire  me,  and  it  was 
finally  a  permanent  job.   I  knew  then  that  I  was  set  for  the  next 
year.   I  stayed  on  in  Fayetteville  during  the  summer,  teaching  the 
summer  term.   I  think  I  earned  $300  for  that. 

When  the  summer  session  was  over  in  early  August,  we  packed 
our  things  and  our  baby  and  drove  back  to  Wisconsin.  We  knew  that 
finding  a  place  to  live  near  Washington,  now  that  the  war  was  on, 
was  going  to  be  a  real  problem.   So  I  left  Kay  and  the  baby  in 
Wisconsin,  where  she  stayed  part-time  with  her  mother  and  father 
in  Dodgeville  and  part  of  the  time  with  my  parents  in  Milwaukee. 
I  left  them  there,  and  I  drove  to  Washington. 

The  University  of  Maryland  is  at  College  Park,  which  is 
about  five  miles  northeast  of  the  District  of  Columbia.   I  found 
out  that  I  could  temporarily  room  with  a  Maryland  professor  and 
his  wife—they  had  no  children  and  he  was  in  agriculture,  as  I 
recall—while  I  went  hunting.   So  I  got  settled  with  them  and  went 
to  the  university  and  got  to  meet  people  there.  Actually,  come  to 
think  of  it,  I  had  to  start  teaching  very  soon.   They  were  just 
going  over  to  a  three-semester  system,   and  I  guess  it  must  have 
been  the  fall  semester.   They  must  have  begun  in  late  August. 

I  spent  my  days  for  a  week  or  so  looking  for  a  place  to 
live.   Finally,  I  found  an  unfurnished  apartment,  it  was  really 
the  ground  floor  of  an  old  house,  in  a  little  suburban  town  near 
the  District  line  called  Mount  Rainier.   I  rented  it.   I  can't 





remember  the  rent,  whether  it  was  a  bit  high--my  salary  at  the 
University  of  Maryland  was  to  be  $2,000  a  year,  which  included 
teaching  three  semesters,  so  it  may  sound  good  but  it  wasn't  all 
that  good. 

Then  there  was  the  problem  of  furnishings.   I  had  a  couple 
hundred  dollars  maybe.   I  remembered  my  sister  had  married  her 
boss—she  and  her  husband  had  a  lot  of  money.  At  least  at  that 
time  it  looked  like  a  lot  of  money.   He  lent  me  $300  so  I  could  go 
out  and  buy  some  furniture.  Then  Kay  and  the  baby  came  by  train, 
and  they  were  there  by  September. 

The  second  or  third  day  that  I  was  in  Maryland,  I  met  a 
young  man  with  a  Ph.D.  from  Columbia  University  named  Richard 
Hof stadter . 

He  was  in  the  department? 

He  had  just  been  employed,  along  with  me.   I  was  brought  there  to 
teach  American  diplomatic  history.   I  had  the  job  of  a  man  who  had 
been  teaching  diplomatic  history  at  Maryland  and  had  just  left  the 
university  to  take  a  job  in  the  State  Department  during  the  war, 
and  he  never  came  back,  didn't  intend  to  come  back. 

Now,  why  was  the  draft  not  hanging  over  your  head  at  this  point? 

It  was.   I  didn't  know  whether  I  was  going  to  be  called.   I  never 
was  called- -never  called.   I  don't  know  whether  there  were  a  lot 
of  volunteers  out  there.  Well,  it's  not  quite  that.   In  1942,  I 
was  married,  I  had  a  child,  and  I  had  just  turned  thirty. 

So  you  were  a  little  on  the  old  side. 

I  seemed  always  to  be  one  step  ahead.   I  was  just  married,  and 
they  weren't  calling  married  men  before  we  got  in  the  war.   Then  I 
had  a  child.   Then  I  turned  thirty.   The  draft  board  never  called 
me,  and  I  was  not  going  to  volunteer.   So  I  was  waiting,  waiting, 
waiting,  and  it  never  came.   I  don't  know  whether  I  would  have 
passed  the  physical.   I  was  very  thin. 

I'll  tell  you  more  about  that,  because  Dick  Hof stadter  and 
C.  Wright  Mills  were  called  by  the  draft  board  and  were  both 
rejected  on  the  grounds  that  they  suffered  from  hypertension. 
They  were  four  years  younger--!  was  thirty  when  I  came  there,  and 
Dick  Hofstadter  was  twenty-six. 

About  the  same  time,  I  met  C.  Wright  Mills,  the  sociologist. 
His  office  in  the  Sociology  Department  was  just  on  the  other  side 
of  a  corridor,  so  we  were  all  together. 



Freidel  came  there  too,  didn't  he? 

No,  the  next  year,  Freidel  continued  to  teach  at  Shurtleff 
College.   The  following  year,  1943,  there  was  another  job  at 
Maryland,  and  I  got  it  for  Frank.  Our  little  group  consisted  of 
C.  Wright  Mills  and  Dick  Hofstadter  and  Frank  Freidel  and  me. 
Those  were  about  as  stimulating  colleagues  as  I  could  ever  hope  to 
have.   Those  were  four  great  years. 

I  want  to  tell  you  a  lot  about  the  University  of  Maryland 
and  what  kind  of  a  place  it  was.   It  was  a  terrible  place—the 
university  was  in  a  wonderful  location,  obviously,  a  historian's 
dream:  the  Library  of  Congress  nearby,  and  the  National  Archives-- 
but  we  had  the  most  unbelievable  president  you  ever  heard  of,  and 
that's  going  to  take  some  time  to  tell  you  about. 

Lage:    Let's  begin  there  next  time,  then. 

Four  Good  Years  at  Maryland;  Colleagues  and  University  Politics 
[Interview  4:  May  7,  1996]  ff 





This  is  the  fourth  session  with  Ken  Stampp,  and  today  is  May  7, 
1996.  We've  got  you  settled  at  the  University  of  Maryland,  with 
the  promise  of  the  story  of  the  university  president  and  of  what 
you  called  your  four  wonderful  years  there- 

Yes,  they  were  good  years. 

--with  intellectual  and  friendship  connections, 
begin  with  what  seems  appropriate. 

So  I'll  let  you 

All  right.   The  University  of  Maryland  is  in  College  Park,  which 
is  about  five  miles,  as  I  recall,  northeast  of  the  District  of 
Columbia.  When  I  arrived  in  August  of  19A2,  the  enrollment  was 
about  3,000  students.  Maryland  was  a  southern  state  in  that  there 
was  segregation  in  the  public  schools.   There  were  no  blacks  at 
the  University  of  Maryland.   There  was  a  college  in  Maryland  for 
black  students. 

Was  that  a  written,  or  just  an  understood  thing? 

Oh,  that  was  probably  part  of  the  state  constitution,  or  at  least 
part  of  state  law- -under  the  separate  but  equal  doctrine  blacks 
and  whites  were  separated,  not  equally,  but  they  were  supposed  to 
be  equal. 






What  about  women?  They  were  late  to  admit  women. 

The  University  of  Maryland  had  women  students,  I  would  say  in 
equal  numbers  with  men  students.   I  might  say  this  in  advance:   by 
the  second  year  that  I  was  there,  by  1943,  a  large  part  of  my 
students  were  G.I.'s.   The  War  Department  had  a  program  called  the 
Army  Specialized  Training  Program,  and  large  numbers  of  G.I.'s, 
before  they  were  sent  overseas,  were  attending  classes  at  the 
University  of  Maryland  and  I  presume  at  other  nearby  institutions. 

Taking  regular  history  classes? 

They  were  taking  courses--!  was  giving  a  survey  course  in  American 
history,  and  they  were  taking  it.   I  had  classes  of  perhaps  thirty 
to  thirty-five  G.I.'s.   I  quickly  divided  them  into  those  who  were 
just  coming  so  they  didn't  have  to  do  something  else  and  those  who 
really  were  serious  about  getting  some  credits  and  eventually 
getting  a  degree.   I  divided  them,  I  said,  "Look,  if  you  don't 
want  to  listen  to  the  lectures,  just  sit  in  the  back.   You  can 
read  your  comic  books.   Just  sit  in  the  back  and  don't  make  any 
disturbance,"  and  that  worked  out  all  right. 

Somehow  it  seems  strange,  that  in  the  midst  of  this  war,  they  were 
sending  G.I.'s  to  learn  about  American  history. 

Well,  this  was  in  their  training  months,  and  apparently  that  was 
long  enough  for  them  to  actually  go  through  a  whole  term,  a  whole 
semester.   There  was  a  similar  program  in  England  at  Shrivenham, 
an  Army  Specialized  Training  Program,  and  professors  from  the 
United  States  were  sent  over  to  Shrivenham  in  England  to  run 
classes  in  history  and  in  political  science  and  philosophy.   So  it 
was  a  pretty  large  program. 

Did  that  increase  the  student  body  numbers? 

Yes.  I  don't  know  by  how  many,  but  I  know  that  probably--! ' 11  try 
to  figure  out  the  percentages—probably  25  percent  of  the  students 
I  taught  were  in  the  army,  were  G.I.'s  at  that  time. 

University  President  Curly  Byrd 

Stampp:   Maryland  was  not  one  of  the  distinguished  state  universities  in 
the  United  States  at  that  time.   It  has  become  a  good  deal  more 
distinguished  since  then.   One  of  the  reasons  was  the  president. 
The  president  was  Curly  Byrd,  no  relation  to  the  distinguished 


Byrd  family  of  Virginia.   I  think  probably  the  Byrd  family  of 
Virginia  insisted  that  this  be  well  known. 

Curly  Byrd  began  before  I  arrived  there  as  the  football 
coach.   He  was  a  slick  politician,  and  he  persuaded--!  don't 
remember  whether  the  governing  body  was  called  the  board  of 
regents,  but  let's  call  it  the  board  of  regents — persuaded  them  to 
create  the  office  of  vice  president  of  the  university  and  to 
appoint  him  to  the  office.  He  always  claimed  that  leaving  the 
football  team  and  going  into  administration  was  a  demotion,  but 
that  tells  you  something  about  him. 

From  the  position  of  vice  president,  so  I  heard,  he  cut  the 
throat  of  the  president--politically--and  got  promoted  to 
president  of  the  university.   So  he  was  there  as  president  in 
1942,  and  he  was  there  when  I  left  in  1946.   Such  a  president  I 
have  never  known,  and  hope  no  one  will  ever  know  again. 

He  was  a  despot.   He  ran  the  university  from  his  office.   He 
made  appointments  in  departments  without  consulting  people  in  the 
departments.  He  fired  people,  he  fired  deans.   One  of  the  first 
things  he  did  after  I  arrived  was  to  fire  the  dean  of  the  College 
of  Letters  and  Science,  who  was  a  very  good  man.   He  was  the 
protector  of  the  liberal  arts  at  Maryland.   But  all  the  time  I  was 
there,  the  dean  of  the  School  of  Business  Administration  was  the 
appointed  acting  dean  of  the  College  of  Letters  and  Science.   This 
was  a  man  who  had  no  idea  what  letters  and  science  was  like,  or 
what  history  was  like,  or  philosophy. 

I  remember  I  used  to  do  my  teaching  there  on  Mondays, 
Wednesdays,  and  Fridays.   I  had  to  teach  twelve  hours.   That  meant 
four  lecture  courses,  so  I  lectured  four  times  on  Mondays, 
Wednesdays,  and  Fridays.   Ultimately,  there  was  a  class  of  G.I.'s 
and  a  couple  of  classes  of  lower  division  students  that  I  lectured 
to  in  American  history.   The  first  couple  of  years,  my  advanced 
course,  my  upper  division  course,  was  a  course  in  American  foreign 
policy,  the  history  of  American  foreign  policy,  because  the  man  I 
replaced  was  in  that  field. 

On  Tuesdays,  Thursdays,  and  Saturdays,  I  went  to  the  Library 
of  Congress  or  the  National  Archives  and  did  research.   The  dean 
found  out  about  this  and  called  the  chairman  of  our  department  and 
said,  "I  understand  Mr.  Stampp  is  not  on  campus  on  Tuesdays, 
Thursdays,  and  Saturdays."  The  chairman  said,  "Well,  yes,  he  does 
his  teaching  on  Mondays,  Wednesdays,  and  Fridays,  and  on  Tuesdays 
and  Thursdays  and  Saturdays  he  goes  to  the  Library  of  Congress  and 
reads  and  does  research." 


The  dean  said,  "Well,  why  does  he  have  to  go  to  the  Library 
of  Congress?  We've  got  a  library  on  our  campus."   [laughter]   The 
library  had  about  120,000  volumes  at  that  time.   It  was  a  pathetic 
library,  and  there  was  no  way  you  could  do  research  there.   But 
that  gives  you  some  idea  of  the  kind  of  man  the  acting  dean  of 
letters  and  science  was. 

Lage:    Were  you  defended  in  this  practice? 

Stampp:   I  was  defended.  My  chairman--! '11  talk  about  him  in  a  minute- 
stood  up  for  me,  and  I  kept  on  doing  it.   I'm  afraid  that  our 
chairman  got  in  a  bit  of  trouble  on  my  behalf  as  a  result  of  that. 
He  got  into  a  lot  of  trouble  because  of  his  department,  as  a 
matter  of  fact. 

Lage:    Had  it  been  the  chairman  who  hired  you? 

Stampp:   As  far  as  I  know,  the  chairman  initiated  the  search.   I  don't  know 
how  many  places  he  wrote  to.   I  know  he  wrote  to  Wisconsin. 
Ultimately,  it  was  Byrd  who  approved  the  appointment.   I'll  say 
more  about  that  a  little  bit  later,  when  Frank  Freidel  came  there. 
I  talked  to  the  president  about  Frank  Freidel.   I  knew  that  the 
chairman  of  the  department  wasn't  going  to  be  able  to  do  this  by 

The  department  was  a  small  one.   The  chairman  of  the 
department  was  a  man  named  Wesley  Gewehr.   He  was  in  his  sixties, 
early  sixties,  I  think—late  fifties,  early  sixties.   He  seemed 
very  old  to  me  then,  a  very  lovely  man.   He  had  written  one  book 
on--I  think  it  had  something  to  do  with  antislavery  among  Quakers 
in  Virginia.   After  that,  he  did  no  more  research;  he  ran  the 
department,  and  as  he  said  to  us  frequently,  "I  do  the  work  in 
this  department  so  you  can  do  your  research." 

Lage:     So  he  appreciated  what  he  had  given  up. 

Stampp:   That's  right,  and  we  appreciated  it,  too. 
of  Wesley  Gewehr. 

We  were  all  very  fond 

The  other  man  in  American  history  who  was  there  was  a  man  by 
the  name  of  Hayes  Baker  Carruthers--!  got  it  mixed  up  because  we 
used  to  call  him  Caker  Bothers--but  it  was  Baker  Carruthers.   The 
interesting  thing  about  him,  really,  was  his  wife.   His  wife  was  a 
feminist  who  insisted  on  maintaining  her  maiden  name.   She  was  a 
student  at  the  University  of  Maryland  and  earned  an  M.A.  degree, 
but  they  refused  to  award  the  degree  to  her  in  her  maiden  name. 
They  insisted  that  the  name  on  the  diploma  would  have  to  be  Baker 
Carruthers.   So  she  refused  to  take  the  degree.   They  were  at  a 





standstill  from  then  on.   The  university  wouldn't  budge,  and  she 
wouldn't  budge. 

Where  did  her  husband  stand? 

Oh,  he  absolutely  stood  with  her  on  that.  He  was  an  older  man, 
too;  he  was  a  man,  oh,  I  would  say  in  his  upper  fifties  at  that 

There  were  two  or  three  European  historians.   One  of  them, 
Gordon  Frange,  left  a  year  after  I  was  there  to  join  the  army.   He 
was  a  specialist  in  German  history  and  spoke  German  fluently  and 
had  done  his  research  in  German  history,  so  when  he  joined  the 
army,  they  sent  him  to  Japan- - 

[laughs]   Oh,  I  should  have  guessed. 

--first  to  Hawaii,  and  he  was  in  Japan  after  the  occupation. 
Isn't  that  amazing? 


That's  where  he  was  and  apparently  was  one  of  MacArthur's  right- 
hand  men  there. 

Another  man  was  Arthur  Silver,  who  taught  English  history. 
He  was,  as  he  told  me  many  times,  a  birthright  Quaker  and  a  very 
good  one.   He  ultimately  got  in  trouble  with  the  university,  too, 
as  I'll  tell  you  later  on. 

That  was  just  about  the  whole  department.   There  were  seven 

or  eight  people,  as  I  recall.  We  had 
incidentally  was  Japanese.  There  was 
American  Friends  Service  Committee  to 
outside  of  the  concentration  camps  on 
young  lady  had  come  out  of  one  of  the 
secretary  to  the  history  department, 
nevertheless,  she  was  in  one  of  those 

one  secretary,  who 

a  program  conducted  by  the 

find  jobs  for  young  Japanese 

the  West  Coast,  and  this 

concentration  camps  and  was 
She  was  American-born,  but 
camps . 

Richard  Hofstadter 

Stampp:   A  day  or  two  after  I  arrived,  I  met  Richard  Hofstadter. 
Lage:    Now,  was  he  new  that  year  too? 





He  had  just  arrived.   He  had  earned  his  degree  from  Columbia 
University.   I  never  quite  understood  with  whom  he  worked.   I 
think,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  he  worked  on  his  own.  Merle  Curti, 
who  was  at  that  time  in  Teachers  College  at  Columbia  University 
(soon  after  he  went  to  Wisconsin)  always  claimed  Richard 
Hofstadter  as  one  of  his  students.   Henry  Steele  Commager,  who  was 
at  Columbia  then,  claimed  that  Hofstadter  was  his  student. 

Hofstadter  said,  "Well,  I  don't  know  who  was  my  major 
professor."  He  picked  his  subject,  he  wrote  a  dissertation  on 
social  Darwinism  in  America,  a  first-rate  dissertation,  which  was 
ultimately  published  [Social  Darwinism  in  American  Thought,  1860- 
1915,  Philadelphia,  University  of  Pennsylvania  Press,  1945]. 

I  remember  that  the  first  time  we  met,  we  walked  down  the 
campus--the  campus  was  up  on  a  hill--and  crossed  the  main  highway 
between  Washington  and  Baltimore  to  a  drug  store.   We  had  lunch  at 
the  drug  store  and  sort  of  looked  at  each  other  suspiciously.   I, 
coming  from  Wisconsin  with  a  German  background,  must  have 
belonged,  as  I  think  Hofstadter  thought,  at  least  sympathetically 
to  the  German-American  Bund;  and  I,  being  a  Midwesterner,  was 
looking  rather  suspiciously  at  this  guy  from  New  York,  Columbia. 
So  we  sort  of  felt  each  other  out.   I  remember  that  one  of  the 
first  things  I  had  to  do  was  explain  to  Hofstadter  that  all 
Germans  in  Wisconsin  were  not  Nazi  sympathizers- 

How  interesting! 

--and  that  my  family  had  been  Social  Democrats;  that  although  my 
father  supported  the  Second  World  War--our  involvement  in  it--I 
had  been,  not  on  isolationist  or  pro-German  grounds,  opposed  to  it 
for  quite  different  reasons,  for  ideological  reasons.   Ultimately, 
that  satisfied  him,  and  Dick  and  I  very  soon  became  good  friends. 

Was  there  a  strong  pro-Nazi  contingent  from  the  Midwest  Germans? 

Not  terribly  strong.   There  weren't  any  Germans  that  I  knew  who 
were  pro-German.   Even  my  family  was  not  pro-German  in  the  First 
World  War  when  they  opposed  our  being  involved.   It  was  strictly 
an  ideological  thing,  a  Social  Democratic  anti-imperialist  stand. 
There  was  a  fair  amount  of  isolationism,  but  that  term 
isolationism  was  used  much  more  broadly  than  I  think  it  deserved 
to  be.   I  was  labeled  an  isolationist,  but  I  never  thought  of 
myself  as  an  isolationist,  because  I  had  favored  our  joining  the 
League  of  Nations  and  the  World  Court.   I  certainly  didn't  want 
the  United  States  to  be  isolated  from  the  world,  but  that  was 
different  from  the  question  of  whether  the  United  States  should  be 
involved  again  in  a  second  European  war.   At  least,  so  it  seemed 
to  me. 






But  there  must  have  been  some  thought,  in  Hofstadter's  mind  at 
least,  that  these  sympathies  existed. 

There  was  a  lot  of  misapprehension,  I  think,  about  Midwestern 
isolationism.  Now,  there  were  lots  of  Midwestern  isolationists, 
and  Charles  Lindbergh,  of  course,  was  one  of  the  leading  figures. 
They  wanted  the  United  States  to  stay  out  of  the  World  Court,  stay 
out  of  the  League  of  Nations,  stay  out  of  this  war,  and  solve  its 
own  domestic  problems.  To  the  extent  that  trade  was  necessary, 
very  well;  but  that  doesn't  mean  we  have  to  get  involved  in  the 
internal  politics  of  Europe.  As  if  we  could  stay  out  of  them  if 
we  were  going  to  be  involved  in  international  trade! 

So  there  was  a  lot  of  that,  but  that's  not  where  I  stood, 
and  it's  not  where  my  friends  whom  I  knew  in  graduate  school  who 
shared  my  views  stood.   I  don't  know  of  any  one  of  them  who  had 
been  opposed  to  our  joining  the  League  of  Nations  or  the  World 
Court,  or  thinking  that  we  could  just  sort  of  wrap  ourselves  in  a 
cocoon  and--.   I  know  that  there  was  a  lot  of  real,  true 
isolationism  in  the  Midwest,  and  not  only  in  the  Midwest.   There 
was  some  on  the  East  Coast,  too. 

You  and  Hofstadter  got  it  worked  out.   That's  the  important  thing. 

Yes,  Hofstadter  and  I  got  it  worked  out.   It  turned  out  that  —  I'm 
just  wondering  whether  I  should  begin  talking  about  C.  Wright 
Mills  —  it  turned  out  that  Hofstadter  was  not  about  to  volunteer  or 
serve  in  the  U.S.  Army  if  he  could  possibly  avoid  it,  and  he  was 
very  happy  when  he  was  not  taken  because  of  hypertension. 

He  came  out  of  a  radical--? 

Hofstadter  was  married  to  Felice  Swados,  who  was  a  writer.   She 
had  published  a  novel  by  that  time.   In  a  way,  I  think  Felice  was 
more  radical  than  Dick  Hofstadter.   He  had  gone  to  the  University 
of  Buffalo  as  an  undergraduate,  and  he  had  gotten  involved  in 
radical  politics  in  the  1930s.   I  believe  he  joined  the  Communist 
party  briefly.  As  he  told  me  once,  he  got  out  because  he  couldn't 
stand  the  people  he  had  to  meet  in  the  party.  Moreover,  as  he 
told  me  and  wrote  ultimately  to  me,  he  was  really  not  cut  out  to 
be  an  activist.   He  was  much  too  intellectual  and  much  too 
involved  in  writing  and  research.   He  had  participated  as  a  picket 
in  one  of  the  steel  strikes  of  the  1930s,  but  I  think  that  was 
about  it.   That  was  probably  where  he  decided  this  was  not  the 
life  for  him.   He  always  afterwards  compared  himself  to  me.   He 
said,  "You  have  more  passion  in  your  politics  than  I  have  in 
mine."  That  was  the  difference  between  us. 


Hofstadter  went  to  Maryland  to  teach  a  course  in  American 
intellectual  history,  but  for  the  rest,  he  had  the  same  programs  I 
did:   taught  G.I.'s  and  taught  survey  courses  in  American  history, 
but  he  did  teach  a  course  in  American  intellectual  history. 
Hofstadter  and  Gewehr  and  I  ran  a  kind  of  senior  seminar  for  a 
handful  of  students  who  were  majoring  in  history.   They  did 
reading,  and  we  had  discussions.  That  was  rather  nice. 

Lage:    Were  there  graduate  students? 

Stampp:   There  was  a  graduate  program  there.  While  I  was  there,  one 

student,  a  woman  from  North  Carolina  named  Alda  Gregory  got  an 
M.A.  degree,  and  one  other  student,  who  had  been  an  undergraduate 
in  American  University  in  Washington,  named  Walter  Sanderlin, 
actually  got  a  Ph.D. 

Lage:    It  wasn't  frequent. 

Stampp:   To  the  best  of  my  recollection,  those  were  the  only  graduate 
students  we  had  in  the  history  department  while  I  was  there. 
Walter  Sanderlin  wrote  a  very  good  dissertation  on  the  building  of 
the  Chesapeake  and  Ohio  Canal  which  was  published.   It  was  a 
federal  project,  and  the  book  was  called  The  Great  National 

Radical  Sociologist  C.  Wright  Mills 

Stampp:   The  history  department  was  a  big  room,  and  on  the  other  side  was 
sociology.   In  the  sociology  department  was  a  young  sociologist 
named  C.  Wright  Mills,  who  had  arrived  the  year  before.   He  went 
to  the  University  of  Texas,  then  got  his  Ph.D.  at  the  University 
of  Wisconsin. 

Lage:    He  was  from  Texas,  wasn't  he? 

Stampp:   He  was  from  Texas,  yes.   He  came  from  San  Antonio.   But  he  was  the 
oddest  Texan  I've  ever  met.   You  wouldn't  know  it.   He  worked  with 
a  man,  I  think  his  name  was  Becker,  but  I'm  not  sure.   He  and  his 
major  professor  had  a  falling  out  before  he  got  his  degree.   Mills 
had  a  way  of  having  falling  outs  with  almost  everybody.   In  some 
ways,  he  was  impossible.   I  remember  his  telling  me  that  after  he 
took  and  passed  his  oral  exam  at  Wisconsin,  as  he  walked  out  of 
the  room,  his  major  professor--!  think  it  was  Becker,  but  whoever 
he  was  —  looked  at  him  and  said,  "Mills,  go  to  hell."  Mills  said 
he  said  in  reply,  "After  you,  Professor."   [laughter] 





Was  he  contemporary  with  you  at  Wisconsin? 

He  must  have  been,  but  I  didn't  know  him.   I  didn't  do  any  work  in 
sociology.  As  I  said,  he  had  come  to  Maryland  in  1941,  so  he  had 
been  there  a  year.   He  and  Hofstadter  were  the  same  age. 
Actually,  Hofstadter,  Freidel,  and  Mills  were  all  four  years 
younger  than  me.   They  were  twenty-six  when  I  arrived,  and  I  was 
thirty.   I  also  remember  Mills,  soon  after  we  met,  pontificating, 
as  he  frequently  did,  about  how  you  get  ahead  and  whether  you  know 
you're  going  to  get  ahead  in  the  profession.   He  said,  "Well,  I'll 
tell  you.   If  you  haven't  made  it  when  you're  thirty,  you're  never 
going  to  make  it."  I  looked  at  myself,  having  just  turned  thirty, 
thinking,  "Well,  that's  it  for  me." 

Mills  was  a  radical.   He  was  probably  more  radical  than  any 
of  the  rest  of  us. 

Intellectually  or  socially? 

In  every  way—well,  socially,  intellectually.   He  was  not  an 
activist,  if  that's  what  you  mean.   He  was  a  radical  in  his 
writing  and  a  radical  in  his  philosophy.   I  remember- -we  began 
having  bag  lunches  in  my  office  or  Hofstadter 's  office  or  Mills' 
office  almost  every  noon,  Monday,  Wednesday,  and  Friday--!  wasn't 
there  Tuesday  and  Thursday—and  talking  about  the  war,  talking 
about  what  the  country  was  going  to  be  like  after  the  war. 

We  had  fantasies  of  a  terrible  situation,  thinking  about  the 
American  Legion  following  World  War  I  and  their  very  conservative 
position  and  the  power  they  wielded  in  the  country,  thinking  also 
that  this  army  was  vastly  larger  than  the  army  in  the  First  World 
War.  We  had  fantasies  about  a  country  that  was  going  to  become 
fascist.   All  these  G.I.'s  were  going  to  come  home  and  join  the 
American  Legion  and  become  fascists,  militarists,  and  so  on. 

Were  you  worried  about  economic  depression  following  the  war? 

No.   The  war  followed  the  depression,  and  things  were  humming.   We 
weren't  thinking  so  much  about  that,  but  we  were  thinking  about 
ideology.   We  assumed  that  they  would  all  be  militarists.   It  was 
a  bad  guess  about  what  G.I.'s  became  after  the  war.   This  was 
probably  Mills'  fantasy  more  than  the  rest  of  us,  but  we  all 
thought  it  was  possible. 

Mills  regarded  me  rather  suspiciously.  My  friendship  came 
after  one  lunch.   We  were  talking  about  politics  and  about 
capitalism  and  socialism;  I  remember  sort  of  expressing  my  feeling 
that  whatever  the  shortcomings  of  socialism,  it  would  be  far 
preferable  to  what  we  had  now,  and  Mills  got  up  and  came  over  and 


shook  my  hand, 

I  was  admitted  to  the  fraternity  after  that. 

Lage:    What  an  interesting  milieu. 

Stampp:   Yes.   There's  no  point  in  my  going  into  a  lot  of  detail  about  it. 
We  were  very  much  concerned  about  American  politics  and  about 
American  society,  and  very  radical. 

Lage:    Did  the  friendship  influence  your  writing  of  history,  your 
interest  in  sociology  or  intellectual  history? 

Stampp:   Oh,  sure.   Hofstadter  and  Mills  had  a  lot  of  impact  on  me,  but  I'm 
not  sure  that  I  had  much  on  Mills,  though  I  read  manuscripts  of 
his.  When  Hofstadter  wrote  his  second  book,  which  was  The 
American  Political  Tradition,  he  acknowledged  something  on  the 
inside--if  I  can  find  it,  I  probably  can't.   [moves  away  from 
microphone]   Anyway,  he  wrote  a  nice  little  thing  in  the  front 
saying,  "To  Ken,  whose  influence  can  be  found  everywhere  inside." 
That's  the  way  I  feel  about  my  writing,  too;  you  couldn't  have  an 
intellectual  like  Hofstadter  around  you  for  four  years  without 
being  influenced  by  him,  and  the  same  for  Mills. 

We  became  very  close  socially  as  well  as  academically. 
Hofstadter  his  first  year  lived  in  an  apartment  some  distance  away 
with  his  wife,  Felice.  After  the  first  year  at  Maryland,  I  found 
an  apartment  in  another  town  a  little  closer  to  the  university 
called  Hyattsville.  We  had  a  very  nice  apartment  there,  and  very 
soon  after  I  got  there,  I  found  an  apartment  for  Dick  Hofstadter, 
so  the  Hofstadters  and  we  lived  in  the  same  apartment  complex. 

Lage:    Were  your  wives  friends? 

Stampp:   They  became  very  good  friends.   They  were  very  different.   My  wife 
was  totally  a  nonintellectual;  Felice  was  very  intellectual  and 
very  much  involved  in  her  own  writing,  and  very  radical,  and  sort 
of  making  sure  that  Dick  didn't  stray  from  his  radicalism.   Mills 
lived  out  in  Greenbelt,  which  was  a  housing  project  a  few  miles 
further  out  from  College  Park.  We  were  together  weekends.   I  can 
remember  Mills'  first  wife,  Freya,  made  a  wonderful  casserole 
called  Texas  Hash,  which  we  had  frequently. 

Mills  at  that  time  was  almost  a  teetotaller.   He  did  drink 
wine.   We  never  had  hard  liquor,  didn't  with  Mills,  anyway.   I  was 
a  little  less  that  way.   I  had  Scotch  now  and  then.   These  were 
nice  evenings.   Felice  was  pregnant,  I  think,  by  the  end  of  the 
first  year.   Their  son,  Dan  Hofstadter,  was  born  while  they  were 
still  at  Maryland. 


Stampp : 


At  the  end  of  the  first  year,  there  was  another  opening, 
another  possible  job  in  the  department.   I  talked  to  Curly  Byrd 
and  my  chairman,  too,  about  Frank  Freidel,  who  was  teaching  at 
this  little  college,  Shurtleff,  and  he  was  hired.  At  the  end  of 
the  first  year,  Frank  and  his  wife,  Beth--they  had  a  child  then- 
moved  to  the  area,  and  they  took  the  apartment  that  we  had.   In 
other  words,  we  moved  out,  they  moved  in.  We  moved  to  this  place 
in  Hyattsville.   So  Frank  was  very  close,  as  well  as  Hofstadter, 
and  Frank  very  quickly  became  part  of  this  group. 

Frank  had  a  Quaker  background,  he  was  a  pacifist.   He  went 
to  the  Friends  meeting  house.   I  went  with  him  a  couple  of  times. 

Did  it  appeal  to  you  as  a  religion? 

I  thought  very  seriously  for  a  while,  because  of  my  pacifism,  of 
becoming  a  Quaker.   These  were  not  orthodox  Quakers.   This  Quaker 
meeting  house  in  Washington  was  a  lovely  place,  lovely  building. 
These  were  liberal  Quakers,  and  you  could  believe  almost  anything, 
There  were  men  in  uniform  who  came  to  the  Quaker  meeting.   As  far 
as  I  could  tell,  you  could  be  an  atheist  and  be  a  Quaker,  as  long 
as  you  accepted  certain  ethical  standards. 

You  could  be  a  member  of  the  armed  forces,  or  an  atheist, 
pretty  broad  for  the  Quakers. 

That  is 

Yes.   Well,  the  nonorthodox  Quakers  were  fairly  liberal,  as  I 
recall.   I  didn't  join.  What  stood  in  the  way  ultimately  was  my 
coming  out  here,  leaving  Washington  and  Frank. 

Academic  Freedom  Issues  at  Maryland 

Stampp:   In  late  1943  or  early  1944--must  have  been  early  1944--Byrd 

announced  that  the  teaching  load  was  going  to  be  increased  from 
twelve  hours  a  week  to  eighteen  hours  a  week,  with  no  extra  pay, 
and  it  was  year  round.   There  were  three  semesters,  so  there  was 
no  summer  holiday.   Up  to  that  point,  there  had  never  been  a 
faculty  meeting.   The  history  department  was  so  small  that  you 
could  hardly  call  it  a  meeting  when  they  met,  and  we  did  have  a 
few  meetings,  but  there  had  never  been  a  faculty  meeting. 

There  was  considerable  outrage  in  the  university  about  this, 
but  it  centered  in  the  history  and  sociology  departments. 

Lage:     [laughs]   I  can  imagine  why. 






We  had  a  mimeograph  machine,  and  we  began  cranking  out  protests 
which  we  circulated  in  the  faculty—Mills,  Hofstadter,  Freidel, 
and  I. 

What  was  his  rationale?  Was  it  a  wartime  measure? 
Well,  wait.  Yes,  you're  right. 

As  a  result  of  this,  there  was  a  demand  that  we  have  a 
faculty  meeting,  and  so  there  was  a  faculty  meeting.   The 
presiding  officer  at  the  faculty  meeting  was  Curly  Byrd. 

No  strong  faculty  senate  tradition. 

No,  absolutely—there  was  no  such  thing  as  a  senate  there.   Byrd 
was  there  to  answer  questions.  A  number  of  questions  were  raised 
about,  "How  can  anybody  teach  that  many  hours  and  do  a  decent 
job."  Byrd  said,  I  remember  very  clearly,  "You  people  complain 
about  working  eighteen  hours  a  week  when  our  G.I.'s  are  fighting 

twenty-four  hours  a  day,  where  do  you  get  off?" 

That  sort  of 

It  just  happened  that  the  spokesman  for  the  history 
department  was  neither  Hofstadter  nor  Freidel  nor  me,  but  a 
European  historian- -I'm  sorry,  I  can't  remember  his  name.   He  was 
a  clergyman,  and  he  was  a  doctor  of  divinity  who  was  teaching 
history.   He  got  up  and  spoke,  and  with  Byrd  sitting  there,  he  had 
some  unpleasant  things  to  say  about  the  way  the  university  was 
being  run. 

He  might  have  been  a  good  person  to  be  the  spokesman. 

He  was  very  good.   He  probably  said  a  couple  of  things,  slightly 
in  bad  temper,  things  that  would  have  been  better  not  to  say.   In 
any  case,  he  was  fired.   It  was  just  like  that;  he  was  out  at  the 
end  of  the  year. 

We  went  to  the  AAUP  [American  Association  of  University 
Professors]  in  Washington,  the  headquarters  were  in  Washington- 
Frank  and  Hofstadter  and  I.   I  can't  remember  whether  Mills  went. 
We  were  all  members  of  the  AAUP,  and  we  wrote  to  them  first,  then 
went  down  and  told  them  what  was  going  on  at  Maryland— that  the 
university  was  run  as  a  dictatorship,  that  Byrd  was  going  to  make 
these  changes  in  teaching  loads  and  so  on,  and  we  wanted  the  AAUP 
to  investigate.   They  wouldn't.   They  wouldn't  touch  it. 

Lage:    Did  you  have  a  sense  of  why? 






The  AAUP  was  taking  on  little  colleges.  They  weren't  going  to 
attack  something  like  this.  All  of  us  sent  in  our  resignations  to 
the  AAUP.   I've  never  joined  again.   I  have  never  forgiven  them 
for  not  taking  it  on.  This  was  one  of  the  most  egregious 
violations  of  every  principle  of  academic  freedom,  the  firing  of 
that  history  professor. 

The  firing  of  the  professor,  especially. 

Yes.   Incidentally,  Frank  Freidel  left  in  the  fall  of  1945  to  go 
off  to  Stillwater,  Oklahoma,  and  go  into  the  Japanese  language 
program.   He  joined  the  navy.  He  did  this  as  a  volunteer;  he  was 
afraid  he  was  going  to  be  drafted  anyway. 

Frank  was  fired. 
He  was  fired? 

That  year,  he  left,  but  he  was  fired,  he  couldn't  come  back  again. 
Oh,  I  see,  he  was  fired  while  he  was  gone. 

He  was  fired  at  about  the  time  he  left.   Curly  Byrd  found  out  that 
the  hotbed  of  all  this  trouble  was  somewhere  in  the  history 
department.   I  don't  know  whether  he  knew  about  C.  Wright  Mills, 
but  somehow  he  got  the  notion  that  the  real  ringleader  of  this  was 
Frank  Freidel,  poor  Frank  Freidel  who  was  not  the  ringleader  of  it 
at  all.   I  don't  know  who  was,  but  it  certainly  was  not  Frank,  but 
Byrd  decided  that  Frank  Freidel  was  the  person. 

Good  heavens . 
mimeographs . 

So  he  didn't  know  who  was  cranking  out  the 

Well,  he  knew  they  came  out  of  that  department.   Gewehr  got  a  lot 
of  the  heat  for  it,  for  having  these  guys  around  in  his 
department.   I  remember  writing  that  year,  1945,  to  Byrd  about 
someone  else  in  European  history  that  I  thought  would  be  a  good 
person  to  have  there,  and  he  wrote  back  a  letter  to  me,  which  I 
think  I  still  have,  saying,  "Well,  it  depends  on  what  kind  of  a 
person  this  is.   If  he  is  willing  to  come  here  and  do  his  teaching 
and  his  research  and  mind  his  own  business,  I  could  have  him 
around  here;  but  if  he  thinks  he's  going  to  run  the  university,  he 
had  better  not  come  here.   I  don't  want  any  more  of  those 
Wisconsin  people." 

Lage:    After  all,  you're  the  one  that  persuaded  him  to  hire  Freidel. 


Stampp:   That's  right,  and  he  blamed  it  on  Wisconsin  people.  Well,  that 
would  include  C.  Wright  Mills.   It  was  in  this  little  area,  and 
these  were  the  Wisconsin  people.  He  didn't  want  any  more  people 
like  that  around. 



Job  Hunting,  Losses,  and  Intellectual  Connections 

Did  you  feel  threatened?  Were  you  worried  about  your  tenure? 

You  know,  I  didn't.  I  don't  know  why,  but  I  didn't.  I  was  very 
active  in  it,  I  helped  to  run  that  mimeograph  machine,  but  I  had 
been  trying  awfully  hard  to  find  a  job  somewhere  else.  In  1945- 
'46,  I  was  very  actively  looking  for  a  job. 

Let's  see--no,  in  1944  I  was  brought  down  to  the  University 
of  Tennessee  in  Knoxville  and  interviewed  and  spent  a  day  there. 
In  June  1945  I  was  offered  a  job,  a  tenured  position  at  about 
$1,000  more  than  I  was  getting  at  Maryland — $1,000  then  was  a  lot 
of  money.   I  called  Byrd  on  the  telephone--!  was  teaching  at 
Wisconsin  that  summer—and  told  him  I  had  the  offer.   He  said, 
"Well,  we  like  you  around  here" --something  about  my  being  a  good 
teacher,  so  he  matched  the  salary  and  gave  me  a  promotion  to 
associate  professor.   So  I  stayed  at  Maryland.   I  didn't  like 
Knoxville  very  much,  and  I  didn't  know  that  Tennessee  was  going  to 
be  all  that  much  better  than  Maryland,  so  I  did  stay. 

We  were  all  job-hunting.   Hofstadter  was  looking  for  another 
job,  Mills  was  looking  for  another  job,  so  was  I,  so  was  Frank. 
We  all  wanted  to  get  out  of  there  if  we  possibly  could. 

It  probably  wasn't  the  best  time  to  be  looking  for  work. 

It  was  not  a  very  good  time.   Then  in  1945,  there  was  a  chance  of 
a  job  at  Johns  Hopkins,  and  I  went  up  to  Johns  Hopkins  and  spent  a 
day  there.   The  chairman  of  the  department  then  was  Charles 
Barker,  who  was  in  American  intellectual  history.   The  job  didn't 
materialize.   It  isn't  that  they  hired  someone  else,  but  it  looked 
as  if  they  might  hire  someone  and  didn't.   So  that  fell  through. 

Then  there  was  a  job  at  Swarthmore,  and  I  was  brought  up  for 
an  interview  there  in  the  spring  of  1946,  late  winter  or  early 
spring.   That  job  didn't  materialize.   That  one  I  really  thought  I 
was  going  to  get,  and  it  was  a  bitter  disappointment  to  me  that 
they  postponed  making  an  appointment,  as  I  recall.   So  I  began  to 
think,  I've  got  another  year  at  Maryland. 


Meanwhile,  Hofstadter  had  been  called  up  for  his  physical 
and  flunked  it.   C.  Wright  Mills  had  been  called  up  for  his 
physical  and  flunked  it,  both  on-- 

Lage:    This  hypertension? 

Stampp:   --hypertension,  and  I've  talked  about  that  before. 

Lage:    And  you  were  not  called  up  but  maybe  thought  you  were  going  to  be. 

Stampp:   I  was  never  called  up.   I  never  heard  from  my  draft  board.   I  know 
I  registered.  And  I  wasn't  about  to  volunteer.   I  might  not  have 
passed  it  either;  I  was  awfully  thin  then,  and  I  didn't  look  like 
a  very  promising  physical  specimen  at  that  point. 

In  the  summer  of  1944,  Felice  Hofstadter  was  in  our 
apartment  one  day  and  asked  my  wife  to  feel  a  lump  she  had 
somewhere  in  here.   Soon  after  that,  she  found  that  she  had  cancer 
of  the  liver.   She  went  back  to  her  family  in  Buffalo.   Her  father 
was  a  doctor,  and  Hofstadter 's  family  lived  in  Buffalo,  too.   She 
went  back  to  Buffalo.  Liver  cancer  is  terminal  cancer,  at  least 
at  that  time  it  was;  there  was  no  such  thing  as  liver  transplants. 
Hofstadter  took  a  leave  of  absence  for  the  year  1944-1945  and 
stayed  with  Felice. 

It  was  a  terrible  year.   At  the  end  of  the  year,  she  died. 
She  died  in  the  early  summer  of  1945.   That  was  the  year  that  Dick 
Hofstadter,  trying  to  do  something,  began  working  on  his  book  The 
American  Political  Tradition,  because  it  was  something  he  could  do 
there  in  the  public  library.   This  was  not  going  to  be  manuscript 
research;  it  was  going  to  be  reading  published  sources,  mostly. 
Hofstadter  was  never  a  manuscript  kind  of  researcher  anyway,  and 
so  he  got  along  quite  well  with  that  book  that  year. 

She  died  some  time  in  the  summer  of  1945,  and  Hofstadter 
came  back  that  year,  1945-1946.  Mills  was  still  there;  Frank  had 
left  for  the  navy. 

My  chronology  is  going  to  be  a  little  mucky  here,  but  some 
time  in  that  period,  '44  to  '45,  we  met  Dwight  Macdonald.   Do  you 
know  who  he  is? 

Lage:    It's  certainly  a  familiar  name. 

Stampp:   Dwight  Macdonald  was  a  kind  of  Trotskyist  at  that  time,  and  he  was 
about  to  start  a  magazine  called  Politics.   Dwight  Macdonald 
became  a  very  well-known  critic.   He  wrote  for  the  New  Yorker  and 
other  publications.   He  talked  to  Hofstadter,  Mills,  Frank,  and  me 
about  making  contributions  to  Politics.   I  can't  remember  whether 


Mills  did.   I'm  quite  sure  that  Dick  Hofstadter  didn't.   I  wrote 
two  long  review  essays  for  Politics,  and  Frank  wrote  one  long 
essay,  too.   He  was  a  very  interesting  man.   He  would  come  through 
Washington—sometimes  we  had  lunch  with  him.   Then  he  would  come 
visit  us  in  the  history  department,  so  he  was  another  one  of  the 
intellectuals  that  I  got  to  know  and  like  there. 

Another  was  a  woman  philosopher-historian  named  Adrienne 
Koch,  who  ultimately  came  to  Berkeley  and  taught  here. 

Lage:    Oh,  and  she  was  teaching  at  Maryland? 

Stampp:   I  think  she  was  teaching  at  New  York  University,  but  she  was 

around  Washington  a  great  deal,  and  we  saw  her  frequently.   She 
was  another  one  of  the  interesting  people  I  met  while  I  was  there. 

We  were  all  busy  with  our  research.  Mills,  when  I  first 
arrived  there,  was  collaborating  with  a  sociologist  at  Wisconsin 
named--!  think  it's  Hans  Gerth--in  a  collection  of  the  writings  of 
Max  Weber,  and  ultimately  it  was  published.   The  book  was  called 
From  Max  Weber.   Then  after  that,  he  began  to  work  on  his  book 
White  Collar. 

Lage:    Would  the  ideas  that  he  was  formulating  be  part  of  the  subjects  of 
your  discussions? 

Stampp:   Oh,  yes.   [laughs]   Mills--!  very  much  enjoyed  him,  but  as  a 

Freudian  as  well  as  a  Marxist,  he  was  always  psychoanalyzing  us. 

Lage:     That's  a  little  irritating. 

Stampp:   Oh,  I  know.   We  knew  that  he  had  a  file  on  us,  all  of  us--his 

observation  about  Hofstadter 's  family,  and  so  on.   He  was  always 
watching  us  to  make  sure  that  we  weren't  "sellouts,"  as  he  put  it, 
that  we  didn't  deviate  from  his  radical  party  line.   He  was  always 
suspicious  of  us,  especially  Hofstadter,  that  Hofstadter  was  not 
passionate  enough  about  his  political  feelings. 

Perhaps  I  ought  to  go  back,  then,  before  I  get  to  the  end  of 
Maryland,  because  I  got  involved  in  my  second  research  project 
there.   Is  this  okay  to  begin  talking  about? 


American  Historical  Association  Presidential  Election,  1944 

Lage:    Yes.  Will  you  also  talk  about  your  efforts  to  defeat  the 

president-elect  at  the  1944  American  Historical  Association 

Stampp:   Oh.  Well,  maybe  I  ought  to  talk  about  that  before  I  get  into  my 

The  American  Historical  Association  was  having  rather  rump 
meetings  during  the  war  because  of  transportation  problems-- 
really,  the  meetings  consisted  largely  of  people  who  were  close  to 
the  East  Coast.   I  remember  one  meeting  in  some  hotel  in 
Washington  that  couldn't  have  had  more  than  150,  200  people  there. 
The  nominating  committee  in  1944  announced  that  it  was  going  to 
nominate  Carlton  J.  H.  Hayes  of  Columbia  University  as  president. 
Hayes  had  made  it  quite  clear  that  he  was  sympathetic  toward 
Franco.   Looking  back,  I  don't  know  that  what  we  did  was  a  very 
good  idea.   We  tried  to  prevent  his  being  elected  president.   I 
really  don't  like  politics  to  get  into  professional  organizations, 
and  this  really  was  doing  it. 

Lage:    But  at  the  time,  you  hadn't  thought  about  the  implications? 

Stampp:   Well,  I  hadn't  really  thought  through  what  it  would  mean  if  the 

historical  association—professional  societies—would  begin  taking 
political  stands  as  societies.   I  changed  my  mind  on  that  later 

Anyway,  we  decided  that  he  shouldn't  be  elected  president. 
He  was  vice  president,  as  I  recall. 

Lage:    Now,  who's  "we"? 

Stampp:  Well,  "we"  meaning—Hofstadter  was  up  in  Buffalo  at  that  time,  but 
Frank  Freidel  and  I  began  writing  to  people.   There  was  someone  in 
one  of  the  New  York  institutions  who  was  very  much  involved  in 
this,  too,  and  we  began  circulating  letters  everywhere  and  got 
lots  of  people  to  sign  a  petition  to  bypass  Hayes,  to  instead 
elect  the  person  who  was  going  to  be  chosen  for  vice  president--! 
can't  remember  who  it  was  any  more.   In  other  words,  we  were 
nominating  another  person  for  president. 

The  business  meeting  of  the  American  Historical  Association 
was  in  December  of  1944,  and  the  presiding  officer  was  the 
president  at  that  time.   He  tried  to  cut  us  off  on  the  grounds 
that  there  was  something  irregular  about  our  procedure,  and 
therefore,  there  should  not  be  a  vote.   One  historian,  who  had  not 


actually  signed  our  petition,  Howard  K.  Beale,  stood  up  and 
protested  vigorously  against  this  attempt  to  stifle  our  proposal. 
He  said  they  deserved  to  at  least  have  it  come  to  a  vote. 

Eventually,  the  president  backed  down,  and  we  did  have  a 
vote.  We  lost,  but  we  had  a  good  minority,  I  think  it  was 
probably  about  one  third  of  the  historians  who  supported  us  on 
that.   Hayes  was  elected  president. 

Hofstadter  signed  our  petition  up  in  Buffalo,  and  then  he 
said  he  had  read  something  about  Hayes  in  Commonweal  that  made  him 
feel  that  we  were  wrong,  but  he  had  already  signed  the  petition. 

Lage:    That  made  him  think  that  Hayes  perhaps  was  not  sympathetic  to 

Stampp:   Yes.   Hayes  was  teaching  at  Columbia  at  this  time.   Then  things 
got  kind  of  nasty.   Frank  and  I  wrote  a  letter  to  Hofstadter 
saying,  "Well,  we  know  you're  dying  to  go  to  Columbia,  Hayes  is 
there,"  and  Hofstadter  wrote  an  indignant  letter  back  saying, 
"What  kind  of  friends  are  you?"  I  eventually  wrote  an  apologetic 
letter  to  Hofstadter  about  it.   So  that  blew  over.   But  that's  as 
much  of  that  story  as  I  can  tell. 

Lage:    Does  that  kind  of  thing,  or  did  it,  have  any  repercussions  for 
you?  Was  there  an  historical  establishment? 

Stampp:   Oh,  there  was  an  historical  establishment.   I  don't  know  whether 
it  ever  had  any  impact  on  me.   I  once  had  an  article  —  come  to 
think  of  it,  maybe  it  did.   [laughs]   I  once  had  an  article 
rejected  by  the  American  Historical  Review,  and  Guy  Stanton  Ford, 
the  editor,  who  was  part  of  the  establishment,  was  there.   Whether 
that  had  anything  to  do  with  it,  I  don't  know. 

Lage:    Was  that  early  on? 

Stampp:   Well,  it  was  when  all  this  was  going  on.   I  don't  know.  As  far  as 
I  know,  it  didn't. 

Family  and  Publication  during  the  War  Years 

Lage:    Did  the  journals  go  on  publishing?  Did  you  have  an  outlet  for 
your  articles? 

Stampp:   All  the  journals  kept  on  publishing  during  the  war  years.   Yes,  I 
had  outlets. 





I'm  trying  to  think  of  anything  else  that  I  should  mention. 
It  was  pointless  to  have  a  car  in  Washington.  You  couldn't  get 
any  gas.   So  I  sold  my  car,  and  for  three  years  we  were  without  an 
automobile  and  depended  entirely  on  public  transportation.  My 
trips  to  the  Library  of  Congress  were  always  on  streetcars  and 
bus,  and  my  trips  to  the  university  were  on  buses. 

And  your  wife's  trips? 


Yes.   There  was  shopping  not  far  away,  so  she  was  able  to  shop, 
but  it  was  not  the  most  convenient  thing  you  could  imagine.   I 
remember  my  son—let's  see,  he  was  three  by  1945--thought  that 
"damn  bus"  was  one  word.  There  was  a  bus  stop  right  outside,  and 
sometimes  it  was  early,  sometimes  it  was  late.   I  used  to  say, 
"That  damn  bus,  it's  gone  again,"  and  he  would  say  to  me,  "You 
missed  that  damnbus  again?"   [laughter] 

A  comment  on  public  transit. 

Yes.   I  should  get  on  to  something  personal.  My  wife  was 
pregnant,  and  in  April  1945,  ray  daughter  was  born.   So  now  I 
two  children. 


Lage:    And  her  name? 

Stampp:   Her  name  is  Sara  Katherine  Stampp,  and  she's  been  Sally  ever 
since.   I  guess  her  name  on  her  driver's  license  is  Sara  K. 
Stampp,  but  she's  always  called  Sally. 

Lage:    Okay,  now  we  can  get  to  your  research. 

Stampp:  All  right.   The  first  thing  I  was  concerned  about  when  I  got  to 
Washington  was  to  get  my  doctoral  dissertation  in  publishable 
form.   Well,  maybe  the  first  thing  I  did  was  to  write  two  articles 
from  my  master's  thesis,  and  they  were  both  published  in  the 
Journal  of  Negro  History. 

I  remember  going  down  to  the  office  of  the  editor  of  the 
Journal  of  Negro  History  which  was  on  Ninth  Street  in  Washington 
and  talking  to  him  about  what  I  was  doing.   His  name  was  Carter 
Woodson,  and  he  was  very  interested.   I  sent  one  article  in,  I 
think  it  was  called  "The  Fate  of  the  Southern  Antislavery 
Movement;"  the  other  one  was  an  analysis  of  a  proslavery  argument 
by  Thomas  Dew,  who  was  a  Virginia  literary  figure  who  wrote  a  long 
defense  of  slavery  in  1832.   So  these  were  my  first  publications, 
these  two  articles  in  the  Journal  of  Negro  History. 

Lage:    Now,  was  the  Journal  of  Negro  History  published  by  Negroes? 


Stampp:   Yes,  it  was  sponsored  by  the  NAACP  [National  Association  for  the 
Advancement  of  Colored  Persons],  which  was  also  in  Washington  at 
that  time,  and  Carter  Woodson  was  the  editor  of  the  journal.   Dick 
Hofstadter  also  wrote  an  article,  which  had  some  influence  on  me, 
on  [Ulrich  Bonnell]  Phillips,  who  was  the  historian  of  slavery.   I 
think  it  was  called  "U.B.  Phillips  and  the  Plantation  Legend,"  in 
which  he  criticized  Phillips  for  writing  mostly  about  very  large 
plantations  and  not  about  the  smaller  ones,  with  other  criticisms 
of  Phillips'  research  methods. 

Many  people  thought  that  was  what  got  me  interested  in 
writing  a  book  about  slavery.   To  the  best  of  my  knowledge--! 
sound  like  Hillary  Clinton,  "to  the  best  of  my  recollection"--it 
didn't  have  any  effect,  because  at  that  time,  I  was  not  thinking 
about  writing  a  book  on  slavery.   I  was  thinking  about  writing  a 
different  book. 

I  also  wrote  two  articles  from  my  doctoral  dissertation  that 
were  published  in  the  Indiana  Magazine  of  History.  An  article  in 
the  North  Carolina  Historical  Review  was  also  from  my  master's 
thesis,  so  I  got  three  articles  out  of  my  master's  thesis.   Two 
articles  from  my  doctoral  thesis  about  Indiana  were  published  in 
the  Indiana  Magazine  of  History  and  one  in  the  Mississippi  Valley 
Historical  Review.   I  had  six  articles  published,  I  think,  by  the 
time  I  left  Maryland,  three  from  my  master's  thesis  and  three  from 
my  doctoral  dissertation. 

Meanwhile,  I  was  doing  some  cutting  in  my  doctoral 
dissertation  and  some  revising  and  some  rewriting.   I  began 
negotiating  with  the  Indiana  Historical  Bureau,  which  was  then 
under  the  direction  of  a  man  named  Coleman,  and  I  sent  him  the 
manuscript.   He  was  very  interested  in  doing  it,  but  I  got  a  very 
discouraging  letter--!  think  it  was  1944--saying,  "We've  just  got 
to  curtail  our  publishing  because  of  paper  shortages."  So  that 
was  in  abeyance.   I  thought,  well,  after  the  war,  I'll  try  again, 
and  I  did  try  again. 

Research  Project:  Lincoln  during  the  Secession  Crisis 

Stampp:   Meanwhile,  I  had  got  interested  in  another  problem. 

In  1942,  David  [M.]  Potter,  who  was  then  a  young  professor 
at  Yale,  wrote  a  book  called  Lincoln  and  His  Party  in  the 
Secession  Crisis,  1860-1861.   I  read  the  book,  and  it  didn't  ring 
true  to  me.   I  wrote  a  review,  a  rather  snotty  review  of  it,  and 
it  was  published  in  the  Mississippi  Valley  Historical  Review.   I 





didn't  like  the  book,  and  I  didn't  think  it  was  sufficiently 
researched  either.   I  would  never  have  written  that  review  that 
way  later  on,  but  this  was  my  first  review,  and  it  was  nasty. 

I  didn't  think  that  Potter  was  right,  and  I'll  have  to  go 
into  some  detail  about  one  particular  thing.   Potter  concluded 
that  the  country  stumbled  into  war  because  Lincoln  didn't 
understand  the  depth  of  the  secession  movement,  the  seriousness  of 
it;  that  he  thought  that  all  he  had  to  do  was  just  wait,  be 
patient,  and  they'll  come  to  their  senses;  that  there  was  a  lot  of 
unionist  sentiment  in  the  South,  and  that  the  South  would  come 
back  to  the  Union  voluntarily.   Some  newspapers  did  argue,  "Just 
be  patient,  the  hotheads  are  in  control  in  the  South,  but  they'll 
cool  off  and  come  back."  William  H.  Seward,  who  became  Lincoln's 
secretary  of  state,  advocated  that  very  strongly,  and  Potter  felt 
that  this  was  what  Lincoln's  policy  was,  too. 

I  began  reading  Lincoln,  and  I  couldn't  see  it.  Moreover, 
Potter  maintained  that  Lincoln  had  tried  to  avoid  war,  that  he 
would  not  have  sent  his  relief  expedition  to  Fort  Sumter  if 
another  relief  expedition  had  been  landed  at  Fort  Pickens,  which 
is  near  Pensacola,  and  that  therefore,  the  expedition  to  Fort 
Sumter  was  a  defeat  for  Lincoln's  policy.   It  just  didn't  make 
sense.   It  was  something  that  I  became  absolutely  obsessed  with 
for  a  while.   I  had  to  get  this  thing  worked  out  in  my  own  head. 

When  you  first  read  it,  though,  was  it  just  based  on  not  making 
sense,  or  had  you  read  a  lot  of  Lincoln? 

It  just  didn't  make  sense  to  me,  and  so  I  began  reading  Lincoln's 
writings,  then  going  into  the  Official  Records  of  the  Union  and 
Confederate  armies.   Then  I  began  doing  research,  and  this  was 
what  I  was  doing  Tuesday,  Thursday,  and  Saturday  at  the  Library  of 
Congress.   I  began  research  first  on  an  article.   I  wrote  an 
article  called  "Lincoln  and  the  Strategy  of  Defense  in  the  Crisis 
of  1860- '61,"  which  I  submitted  to  the  American  Historical  Review. 
It  was  rejected-- 

Aha ,  that ' s  the  one . 

--and  whoever  was  the  critic  said,  "It's  anti-Lincoln,"  as  if  that 
was  a  reason  for  rejecting  it.   So  I  sent  it  to  the  Journal  of 
Southern  History,  and  they  published  it. 

That's  an  interesting  thought,  that  it  was  anti-Lincoln. 

Yes.   I  don't  know  who  the  critic  was,  but  he  said,  "Incidentally, 
it's  anti-Lincoln."  Anyway,  in  this  article,  published  in  1945, 
my  position  was  that  Lincoln,  after  he  was  elected  president, 


briefly  thought  that  the  South  would  cool  off,  but  once  South 
Carolina  seceded,  he  didn't  think  that  any  more. 

He  saw  the  problem  that  he  was  going  to  face  as  president, 
that  somehow  he  was  going  to  have  to  unite  the  North  if  he  had  to 
resort  to  violence  to  preserve  the  Union.  Lincoln  was  a 
nationalist,  and  he  was  not  under  any  circumstances  going  to  let 
the  South  secede  in  peace.   He  never  acknowledged  the  right  to 
secede.   Fairly  early,  he  understood  that  somehow,  if  there  is 
violence,  he  must  not  appear  to  be  the  aggressor. 

He  left  Springfield  in  early  February  of  1861,  and  he 
stopped  in  Indianapolis  and  Cincinnati  and  Cleveland  and 
Pittsburgh  and  New  York  and  Trenton,  New  Jersey,  always  making 
speeches  about  how  we  have  to  preserve  the  Union,  but  how  he  does 
not  intend  to  be  the  aggressor,  if  there  is  violence. 


Stampp:   I  remember  when  he  spoke  in  Trenton,  New  Jersey,  he  said  to  his 

audience,  "It  may  be  necessary  to  put  the  foot  down  firmly,  and  I 
assume  you  will  support  me,"  and  he  got  applause.   Before  that,  in 
Indianapolis,  he  said,  "People  are  talking  about  aggression  and 
defense  and  coercion  of  the  Southern  states.  Who  wants  to  coerce 
the  Southern  states?   I  don't  want  to  coerce  the  Southern  states. 
I  don't  want  to  march  an  army  into  the  South  and  coerce  them.   But 
suppose  I  just  defend  federal  property.   Is  that  coercion?   No. 
That's  defense.   I'm  going  to  simply  defend  federal  property.   And 
supposing  I  see  that  federal  laws  are  enforced.   Is  that 

In  his  famous  first  inaugural  address,  again  he  said  that 
the  union  is  perpetual,  that  there  is  no  legal,  constitutional  way 
that  a  state  can  secede  from  the  union,  that  he  was  going  to  use 
all  the  power  at  his  command  to  defend  and  protect  the  property  of 
the  United  States  and  enforce  the  laws;   and  the  peroration  at  the 
end  when  he  said,  "In  your  hands,  my  dissatisfied  fellow 
countrymen,  is  the  issue  of  war  or  peace.   I  have  no  intention  of 
coercing  or  intimidating  you.   I  am  merely  going  to  enforce  the 
laws."   Then  a  rather  sweet  thing  at  the  end,  saying,  "Think  what 
you're  doing  before  it  goes  too  far,  and  the  mystic  bonds  of 
memory  will  ultimately  bring  us  back."  It  was  lovely. 

Lage:    Pretty  masterful,  as  you've  described  it. 
Stampp:   Absolutely  beautiful. 

So  he  came  into  office,  and  shortly  after  he  was  in  office, 
a  day  or  so  afterwards,  he  heard  that  Major  Anderson  at  Fort 


Sumter  in  Charleston  Harbor,  which  was  one  of  the  few  pieces  of 
property  still  in  federal  hands—the  Confederates,  the 
Southerners,  had  seized  all  federal  property  except  Fort  Sumter, 
Fort  Pickens  near  Pensacola,  and  Forts  Jefferson  and  Taylor  off 
Key  West.   That  was  all  that  was  left. 

Lage:    The  only  places  he  had  to  defend. 

Stampp:  All  that  was  left  to  defend,  yes.  They  had  seized  post  offices, 
they  had  seized  other  forts,  they  had  seized  the  United  States 
Mint  in  New  Orleans,  and  so  on.  Then  he  heard  that  Anderson  was 
running  out  of  supplies  at  Fort  Sumter  and  that  Anderson  could 
hold  out  about  six  more  weeks. 

So  he  called  his  cabinet  together  and  said,  "What  do  you 
think  1  should  do?"  They  were  divided.   Seward  wanted  him  to 
abandon  Fort  Sumter.  A  couple  of  others  wanted  to,  a  couple  of 
others  didn't  want  him  to.   Then  he  asked  General  Scott,  who  was 
general-in-chief  of  the  United  States  Army,  "What  should  I  do?" 
Scott,  who  was  very  much  influenced  by  Seward,  who  wanted  to 
abandon  Fort  Sumter,  wrote  to  Lincoln  and  said,  "We  have  no 
choice. " 

Major  Anderson  said  it  would  take  a  huge  armada  and  20,000 
well-disciplined  troops.  Well,  there  weren't  that  many  troops  in 
the  army  at  that  time.   General  Scott  said,  "You'd  better  abandon 
it,"  yet  Lincoln  couldn't  do  it.   He  mulled  it  over  in  his  mind, 
and  finally,  his  postmaster  general  brought  a  friend,  a  captain  in 
the  navy,  named  Gustavus  Vasa  Fox  to  talk  to  Lincoln.   Fox  told 
Lincoln  that  he  had  a  plan,  that  he  could  take  some  naval  ships 
down  there  and  at  night  run  in  some  very  fast  small  boats,  run 
supplies  into  Anderson.   He  thought  he  could  succeed.   Lincoln 
thought  about  it  and  said,  "Go  ahead." 

The  expedition  was  planned.   On  April  4th,  Lincoln  gave  the 
final  order  to  go  ahead.   It  didn't  go  ahead  until  about  the 
seventh.   He  had  already  given  orders  that  reinforcements  that 
were  on  shipboard  near  Fort  Pickens  should  be  landed,  and  he  had 
heard  on  April  6th  that  these  troops  had  not  been  landed  because 
the  order  had  come  from  the  wrong  man.   I  don't  know  whether  it 
was  the  secretary  of  the  army  instead  of  the  secretary  of  the  navy 
or  the  secretary  of  war — anyway,  they  weren't  landed.   So  he 
immediately  sent  another  courier  to  Pickens  saying,  "Get  those 
troops  landed." 

Well,  Lincoln  later  on  said  in  a  message  to  Congress,  "If 
those  troops  had  been  landed  at  Fort  Pickens,  I  would  never  have 
sent  a  relief  expedition  to  Fort  Sumter."   That  was  a  lie. 


Lage:    Because  he  had  already  decided  to. 

Stampp:   He  had  already  decided.   It  was  a  lie.  He  had  already  written  to 
Anderson  saying  the  troops  were  coming.  Actually,  in  his  papers, 
there  was  the  order  dated  April  4th,  and  I'm  sure  that  later  on  he 
wrote  a  memo  on  it,  "Written  April  4  but  not  sent  until  April  6." 

Lage :    So  this  is  what  you  found  in  your  sources . 

Stampp:   That's  what  I  found  in  my  sources.   So  I  had  to  check--how  long 
did  it  take  a  letter  to  get  from  Washington  to  Fort  Sumter?  The 
mails  were  still  going  through  at  this  time.  No  letter  ever  got 
to  Fort  Sumter  in  less  than  three  days  from  Washington.   If  he  had 
not  sent  that  letter  until  April  6th,  it  couldn't  have  got  there 
until  April  9th.   Well,  it  got  there  April  7th,  and  that  was  just 
right,  because  he  wrote  it  April  4th,  and  April  7th  is  just 
exactly  right. 

Lage:     So  it  sounds  as  if  you  were  uncovering,  by  carefully  looking  at 
the  sources,  uncovering  some  new  information. 

Stampp:   Yes,  checking  on  dates  and  how  long  it  took  for  letters  to  get 

from  one  place  to  another.   So  Lincoln  sent  the  relief  expedition, 
and  very  cleverly,  I  think,  and  very  cautiously.   This  all  sounds 
anti-Lincoln,  but  I  didn't  mean  it  to  be  anti-Lincoln.   He  gave 
advance  warning  to  the  governor  of  South  Carolina  that  a  relief 
expedition  was  coming,  but  he  was  going  to  land  only  supplies.   He 
was  going  to  feed  a  starving  garrison,  but  no  reinforcements  and 
no  military  supplies  would  land. 

Then  he  added  one  phrase  which  is,  I  think,  quite 
provocative.   He  said,  "Until  further  notice."   [laughter] 


So  Governor  Pickens  gets  this  notice.   He  notifies  Jefferson 
Davis.   Davis  has  a  conference,  and  they  give  the  order  to  the 
Confederates—General  Beauregard  in  Charleston—to  open  fire.   On 
April  12,  1861,  they  open  fire,  before  Fox's  expedition  got  there. 
The  expedition  was  helpless,  they  couldn't  do  anything.   The 
bombardment  went  on  for  thirty- six  hours,  and  on  April  13th, 
Anderson  surrendered.   The  Confederates  let  the  federal  garrison 
board  one  of  the  ships,  and  they  sailed  back  to  New  York. 

Lincoln  then  called  for  75,000  troops  to  suppress  a  domestic 
insurrection.  Jefferson  Davis  called  for  100,000  troops,  and  the 
war  came. 

That  was  my  article.   Then  I  decided  to  write  a  book  about 
this,  not  just  on  the  Sumter  thing,  but  I'm  going  to  write  a  book 


on  the  way  Northerners  reacted  to  the  secession  crisis  from  the 
fall  of  1860  until  the  outbreak  of  war  in  April,  1861.   That  was 
the  research  I  was  doing  at  the  Library  of  Congress  in  1943,  '44, 
and  '45.   I  hadn't  quite  finished  the  research- -in  '46. 

Lage:    How  does  writing  about  a  war  in  the  midst  of  another  war  that  you 
have  doubts  about,  and  being  a  pacifist—did  this  affect  how  you 
looked  at  it? 

Stampp:   Well,  it  probably  did  have  an  effect.  My  feeling  about  the  Civil 
War—as  a  historian,  you  have  feelings  about  what  you're  writing 
about— my  feeling  about  the  war  was  that  if  the  only  issue  had 
been  the  idea  that  this  is  a  perpetual  union,  and  no  state  can 
secede,  if  that  was  all  it  was  worth,  if  that's  all  that  was 
involved- -600, 000  lives  you're  going  to  lose  for  that  cause?   I 
thought  under  those  circumstances,  it  wouldn't  have  been  worth  it. 

If,  however,  it  was  to  abolish  slavery,  that's  something 
else.   I  had  another  argument  with  David  Potter  later  on  about 
this.  We  argued  about  this  for  years  afterwards.   He  and  I  got  to 
be  good  friends,  and  he  forgave  me  for  my  review.   I  even  said, 
"I'm  sorry  I  wrote  such  a  nasty  review." 

Lage:    He  reviewed  your  book  also,  did  he  not? 

Stampp:   Yes,  he  did,  and  it  was  a  much  gentler  review  than  I  wrote  of  his 
book.   But  he  later  on  wrote  an  essay  in  which  he  said,  "One  may 
well  ask  whether  the  freeing  of  four  million  slaves  was  worth 
600,000  lives,"  because  slavery  might  have  disappeared  of  its  own, 
it  might  have  collapsed,  and  so  on.   Then  I  wrote  a  reply  saying, 
"Well,  one  may  well  ask  how  many  more  years  four  million  human 
beings  should  remain  in  slavery."  He  estimated  that  there  was  one 
life  lost  for  every  six  slaves  freed—he  had  a  statistical  thing 
about  how  many  lives  in  relation  to  how  many  slaves  were  freed. 
So  this  argument  went  on  and  on  for  years  afterward. 



An  Offer  from  Berkeley 

Stampp:   In  any  case,  I  was  a  long  way  along  in  my  research  at  the  Library 
of  Congress.   I  used  many  newspapers  and  lots  of  manuscript 
collections.   Then  in  the  spring  of  1946,  things  began  to  happen. 
Hofstadter  got  an  offer  from  Columbia,  and  I  knew  he  was  leaving. 
Mills  got  an  offer  from  Columbia,  and  I  knew  he  was  leaving.  And 
there  I  was--I  wasn't  going  to  get  the  job  at  Hopkins,  and  I 
wasn't  going  to  get  the  job  at  Swarthmore.   I  thought,  My  God,  I'm 
going  to  be  here  again.   Freidel  is  fired,  Hofstadter  is  leaving, 
Mills  is  leaving,  and  I'm  going  to  be  here  again. 

In  April  1946  I  went  to  a  kind  of  rump  meeting  of  the 
Mississippi  Valley  Historical  Association  in  Bloomington,  Indiana. 
John  D.  Hicks  had  been  one  of  my  professors  at  Wisconsin. 

Lage:    But  you  hadn't  been  that  close  to  him,  had  you? 

Stampp:   Not  terribly  close  to  him,  no.   He  was  very  much  in  favor  of 
Roosevelt's  foreign  policy.   He  knew  Hesseltine,  and  I  was  a 
Hesseltine  student.   John  D.  Hicks  was  at  the  Mississippi  Valley 
meeting  in  Bloomington,  Indiana.   It  was  a  small  meeting,  and  I 
remember  Hicks  saying,  "Let's  have  a  drink  together.   You  know, 
I'm  an  old  Wisconsin--"  he  was  out  here  [in  Berkeley]  now.   He 
came  out  here  in  '42.   So  we  sat  and  had  a  drink  and  talked  about 
Wisconsin  and  about  Hesseltine.  And  that  was  that. 

The  next  month,  early  May  of  1946,  I  got  a  letter  from  Hicks 
and  a  letter  from  Hesseltine  offering  me  an  instructorship  out 

Lage:    And  Hesseltine,  you  said? 

Stampp:   He  had  written  to  Hesseltine  and  said  that  he  was  interested  in 
bringing  me  to  Berkeley.   I  said,  "Instructorship?   I'm  an 






associate  professor.   I  know  it's  only  Maryland,  but  I'm  not  going 
to  start  over  again."  He  wrote  to  Hesseltine  and  said,  "Tell 
Stampp  to  accept  it,"  an  instructorship.   I  said,  "No."  I  wrote 
back  and  said,  "I'll  step  down  one  rank.   I'll  go  back  to 
assistant  professor,  but  I'm  not  going  to  take  an  instructorship." 
Well,  I  think  Hicks  had  sort  of  said,  "That's  all  I  can  do." 
Ultimately  it  was  changed. 

Did  it  go  back  to  assistant  professorship? 

It  was  raised  to  an  assistant  professorship,  and  more  than  that, 
it  was  raised  to  a  second-step  assistant  professorship.  My  salary 
at  Maryland  at  that  time  was  $3,500,  and  going  to  Berkeley,  my 
salary  would  be  $3,600.   That  wasn't  much  of  an  inducement.  Well, 
it  turned  out  when  I  got  here  that  it  was  going  to  be  $3,900,  and 
that  helped  a  lot. 

What  did  you  think  of  Berkeley  from  back  there  on  the  East  Coast? 

I  didn't  even  know  where  Berkeley  was.   I  had  to  find  a  map.   I 
thought  Berkeley  was  somewhere  in  southern  California.   I  was  that 
ignorant  about  the  university.   I  found  it  was  across  from  San 
Francisco.   I  had  never  been  to  San  Francisco.   I  had  been  to  Los 
Angeles  but  not  San  Francisco.   I  told  Hofstadter  about  the  job, 
and  he  said,  "Well,  surely  you're  not  going  to  take  it."  I  said, 
"Well,  I'd  like  to  get  out  of  here,  and  I  wouldn't  mind  going  out 
there  for  a  few  years."  He  said,  "Well,  I  must  say,  I  don't  think 
much  of  the  history  department  at  Berkeley." 

I  wonder  what  he  would  have  known. 

About  the  history  department? 

Right . 

Well,  he  knew,  for  example,  that  the  dominant  figure  for  some 
years  was  Herbert  Eugene  Bolton  and  that  Bolton  didn't  have  any 
use  for  men  who  taught  American  history.   You  should  teach  history 
of  the  Americas. 

So  that  was  well  known- - 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  until  Hicks  came  here  in  1942,  there  was  no 
survey  course  in  American  history  given  in  Berkeley.   There  was  a 
course  called  the  History  of  the  Americas,  which  I  always  thought 
was  kind  of  a  bastard  course—trying  to  teach  the  history  of 
Argentina  and  Brazil  and  Canada  and  Mexico  and  the  United  States, 
all  in  one.   They  were  different  cultures  to  begin  with,  but  this 
was  Bolton,  and  the  department  was  full  of  Bolton  students. 


Lage:    That's  right,  especially  in  American  history. 

Stampp:  Well,  Lawrence  Harper  was  an  American  historian  who  taught 

colonial  history.   Hicks  came  here  in  1942  on  condition  that  he 
introduce  a  survey  course  in  American  history,  otherwise  he 
wouldn't  have  come.   There  had  been  none  up  to  then.   Bolton 
students  Jim  King  and  Engel  Sluiter  taught  History  of  the 
Americas.   Bolton  had  done  it  before  he  retired.   Bolton  had  been 
called  back  in  to  teach  during  the  war  and  had  just  re-retired. 
Another  one  of  his  students,  George  Hammond,  was  the  head  of  the 
Bancroft  Library,  and  still  another  one  of  his  students,  Lawrence 
Kinnaird,  was  in  the  history  department. 

Lage:    Of  course,  you  probably  didn't  know  this  detail  at  the  time. 

Stampp:   Well,  I  knew  about  Bolton,  but  I  think  Hofstadter  knew  a  bit  more 
about  the  setup  than  I  did  at  that  time.   In  any  case,  there  were 
four  Bolton  students  in  the  department:  the  head  of  the  Bancroft 
Library,  Lawrence  Kinnaird,  Engel  Sluiter,  Jim  King,  all  committed 
to  this  History  of  the  Americas  thing.   The  other  American 
historian  at  that  time  was  a  young  assistant  professor,  Walton 

So  in  American  history,  we  had  Hicks,  who  was  really  out  of 
the  department  at  that  time;  he  was  dean  of  the  graduate  division 
in  1946.   Frederic  Paxson  had  just  retired,  so  he  was  out.   Paxson 
had  been  here  as  an  American  historian,  but  he  had  agreed  to  let 
them  have  this  History  of  the  Americas  and  no  course  in  American 
history.  When  I  came,  there  was  Larry  Harper  in  colonial  history, 
Walt  Bean,  who-- 

Lage:    He  was  more  in  California  history,  wasn't  he? 

Stampp:   Well,  he  was  California  history,  but  he  was  supposed  to  be 

teaching  recent  American  history.   He  never  really  wanted  to  and 
never  liked  it,  and  he  finally  got  to  teach  California  history. 
There  was  Hicks,  who  was  dean  of  the  graduate  division,  and  that 
was  it  in  American  history. 

Lage:    A  different  crowd  from  Richard  Hofstadter  and  Frank  Freidel. 

Stampp:   Oh,  yes,  indeed.   Larry  Harper  was  a  pleasant  person,  and  he  was 
all  in  favor  of  advanced  methods  of  research,  but  he  never  did 
anything  as  far  as  writing  all  the  time  he  was  here.  Walt  was  an 
agreeable  man,  but  he  always  gave  me  the  impression  that  somehow 
life  had  already  defeated  him.   He  did  write  and  publish  a  book 
called  Boss  Ruef's  San  Francisco,  which  is  a  good  piece  of  work  on 
a  corrupt  episode  in  San  Francisco's  history. 


Migrating  to  the  West  Coast 

Stampp:   I  came  out.   I  told  Hofstadter  I  would  go  out  at  least  for  a  few 
years .   I  went  to  Madison  that  summer  and  taught  in  the  summer 
session.  My  wife  was  with  me.  Then  1  managed  to  get  a  car.  They 
were  hard  to  get  in  1946,  but  through  an  influential  brother-in- 
law  I  got  a  car  so  I  could  drive  out. 

I  went  back  East  in  August  before  I  came  out  here.   I  went  to 
Philadelphia  and  to  New  York  and  Boston,  doing  research  on  my  And 
the  War  Came.   I  managed  to  finish  the  work  that  I  needed  to  do  in 
the  Pennsylvania  Historical  Society  library,  the  New  York  Public 
Library,  the  Harvard  library,  Massachusetts  Historical  Society 
library- -that  was  several  weeks  of  really  hard  work.   I  went  back 
to  Milwaukee  where  my  wife  was,  and  early  in  September,  we  started 
driving  out  to  Berkeley  with  two  children,  aged  one  and  four,  and 
a  son  who  got  carsick. 

Lage:    Oh,  dear. 

Stampp:   We  went  to  Dodgeville,  where  my  wife's  parents  lived,  and  stayed  a 
night  with  them,  then  started  driving.  We  got  about  twenty  miles 
out  of  Madison  and  my  son  got  carsick,  and  I  had  to  stop  the  car 
and  walk  him  up  and  down.   We  got  across  the  Mississippi  River  and 
spent  the  night  there,  and  I  thought  at  this  rate,  we're  going  to 
get  there  in  October.   The  next  day,  driving  across  Iowa--I  don't 
know  how  many  times  my  son  got  carsick- -but  I  would  have  to  stop 
the  car,  and  we  would  go  out  and  walk  up  and  down.   I  don't  know 
whether  it  even  existed  at  that  time,  but  there  was-- 

Lage :    Dramamine  and  the-- 

Stampp:   Dramamine,  I  didn't  know  about  Dramamine. 

Lage:    Yes,  it  probably  didn't  exist,  unless  they  had  invented  it  during 
the  war. 

Stampp:   Well,  I  really  don't  know,  but  I  didn't  know  about  it.   It  took  us 
all  day  to  get  250  miles  through  Iowa,  and  it  was  very 
discouraging.   Fortunately,  by  the  third  day,  he  was  getting  used 
to  the  driving,  and  the  carsick  problem  ended. 

Then  we  had  a  rather  pleasant  trip  across  the  mountains.  We 
got  into  California  on  the  twelfth  of  September,  I  remember,  and 
stopped  up  in  the  mountains.   I  loved  the  mountains,  I  wanted  to 
stop  in  the  mountains,  so  we  stopped  in  the  little  village  of 
Cisco,  elevation  of  about  5,500  feet,  and  found  a  motel  there.   I 
must  have  told  you  this  story  about  my  son-- 





Stampp : 


--embarrassing  me.  We  went  in  the  restaurant,  and  I  decided  I 
wanted  to  have  a  drink  before  dinner,  and  my  wife  didn't.   They 
were  sitting  at  their  table;  they  should  have  stayed  in  the  motel. 
My  son  would  keep  running  into  the  bar  and  going  back  and  saying, 
"He's  still  drinking."   [laughter]   I  had  one  drink!   One 
cocktail.  And  of  course,  when  I  walked  into  the  dining  room, 
everybody  looked  at  this  drunk  person  who  was  coming.   [laughing] 

Holding  up  this  poor  family! 

The  next  day,  we  drove  on  down--!  must  say,  driving  into  the  Bay 
Area  then  was  something  because  there  was  no  freeway.   You  had  to 
drive  through  Roseville  and  every  community  on  the  way- -Davis,  and 
right  through  Richmond,  and  Rodeo  and  so  on.   I  thought  we  would 
never  get  here. 

I  remember  we  finally  came  out  on- -I  think  there  was  an  East 
Bay  freeway  then- -the  freeway  the  afternoon  of  September 
thirteenth,  and  I  looked  at  San  Francisco  and  the  bay  and  the 
Golden  Gate  Bridge,  and  I  fell  in  love  with  it,  absolutely  fell  in 

After  that  long  trip. 

Yes.   Then  there  was  the  problem- -Hicks  had  urged  me  to  come  out 
alone  because  housing  was  terrible.   We  had  no  money  to  buy  a 
house,  absolutely  not.   I  took  my  family  with  me,  and  we  holed  up 
in  a  motel  in  Richmond  near  the  freeway  and  lived,  the  four  of  us, 
in  a  one-room  motel  for  a  month  while  I  went  house-hunting.   There 
was  simply  nothing  to  rent. 

Were  you  also  starting  to  teach? 

1  started  to  teach,  and  I  had  to  go  back  to  the  one-room  motel 
with  a  one-year-old  and  a  four-year-old  and  my  wife  going  crazy 
out  there  with  them.   Finally,  George  Mowry,  a  former  student  of 
Hicks,  who  was  teaching  at  Mills,  told  me  that  he  had  heard  about 
a  woman  who  owned  a  little  cottage  on  Acton  Crescent--do  you  know 
where  that  is? 

Lage:    Yes  [in  northwest  Berkeley]. 

Stampp:   It  runs  off  Acton  Street.   There  was  a  little  house  there  with  one 
bedroom,  a  living  room,  and  a  kitchen,  and  a  little  bathroom  with 
a  shower,  that  she  was  willing  to  sell.  Well,  this  was  a  phony 
sale.   I  never  signed  any  papers,  but  the  monthly  payments  were,  I 
don't  know,  $55  or  something  like  that.   Theoretically,  I  was 


Stampp : 




buying  that  house,  but  the  reason  she  was  selling  it  is  that  she 
wanted  to  find  some  way  of  getting  out  of  rent  control.   These 
payments  were  more  than  the  rent  control  board  would  have  let  her 
charge  for  that  place. 

We  stayed  there  my  first  year,  and  she  always  said,  "Oh,  I 
must  bring  some  papers  around  for  you  to  sign,"  but  she  never  did. 

Did  you  think  you  were  buying  it,  or  did  you  know  it  was  a  ruse? 

I  didn't  know.   I  didn't  know  what  was  going  on.   I  knew  that  this 
was  a  temporary  thing.   In  February  of  1947,  my  brother-in-law 
came  out--my  sister  had  made  a  very  good  marriage  financially,  a 
good  marriage  in  many  ways—on  business,  and  he  came  over  and 
spent  a  day  with  me  and  Kay.   I  had  been  looking  at  houses  that 
might  possibly  be  buyable.   I  had  found  one,  6  Ardmore  Road  in 
Kensington- -you  know  where  the  Kensington  shopping  area  is. 


Ardmore  Road  runs  right  off  there.   Six  Ardmore  Road.   It  was  up 
for  sale  for  $14,750,  and  it  had  two  bedrooms  and  a  finished  attic 
where  you  could  easily  put  up  several  beds,  make  a  playroom.   I 
could  get  it  for  a  down  payment  of  $3,000,  which  I  didn't  have. 
Of  course,  we  had  some  furniture.   I  talked  to  my  brother-in-law. 
I  said,  "Can  I  borrow  $3,000  from  you?  I'll  pay  it  back.   I'll 
teach  summer  sessions,  and  I'll  pay  it  back  at  the  rate  of  $500  a 
year,  and  pay  interest  of  6  percent."  He  agreed.   So  we  paid  down 
$3,000  on  the  house.  We  took  out  a  mortgage  for- -what  was  that-- 
$11,750.   The  payments  were-- 

It  probably  seemed  huge  at  the  time. 

Oh,  it  was  staggering.   It  was  absolutely  staggering, 
of  being  that  deep  in  debt  just  staggered  me.  Anyway, 
payments  were  easy,  about  $110  a  month. 

The  thought 

Then  we  found  that  under  the  existing  laws  about  rentals,  you 
had  to  give  six  months  notice.  A  couple  had  been  renting  this 
house  for  five  years.   The  house  was  owned  by  missionaries  who  had 
just  come  back  and  were  living  in  retirement  somewhere  in  the 
valley.   So  I  had  to  serve  papers  on  these  people.   It  was  a 
couple  with  no  children.   I  had  to  serve  it  on  both  of  them,  and  I 
was  afraid  they  would  dodge  me,  but  I  caught  them. 

Lage:    To  give  them  the  six  months  notice? 








Stampp ; 

I  had  to  give  them  the  six  months  notice,  and  I  had  to  present  it 
to  both  of  them,  because  if  one  got  it  and  the  other  didn't,  the 
other  could  stay. 

It  sounds  like  Berkeley  had  a  history  of  rent  control  before  we 
actually  think  of  rent  control. 

Oh,  no,  this  was  federal.   This  was  the  federal  law  at  that  time. 
So  I  served  the  papers,  and  they  had  really  let  this  house  run 
down.   They  had  done  nothing  about  the  garden.   The  garden  was  an 
absolute  jungle  of  weeds,  and  the  house  needed  painting.  We  had 
to  sit  for  six  months-- 

In  your  one  bedroom. 

--in  the  one  bedroom,  while  these  two  people  had  two  bedrooms, 
just  made  me  sick.   But  we  lasted  it  out,  and--I  think  it  was 
August—we  finally  got  them  to  move  out. 

August  '47,  would  this  be? 

August  '47,  and  we  moved  into  6  Ardmore  Road.   That's  where  we 
lived  for  the  next  five  years. 

Meanwhile,  classes  were  starting  in  Berkeley,  and  I  was 
settled  in.   I  was  not  given  a  private  office.   Ray  Sontag,  who 
was  a  European  historian,  was  still  on  leave.   He  was  in 
Washington  during  the  war.   He  had  a  splendid  office  up  in  the 
fourth  floor  of  the  library,  the  old  part  of  the  library,  a  big 
office.   However,  I  had  to  share  it  with  Engel  Sluiter  and  Walt 


Oh,  three  of  you. 

There  were  three  of  us.   It  was  a  good-sized  office,  and  it  worked 
all  right.  We  were  all  quiet.  We  were  all  working  hard.   I  had 
to  do  a  few  more  bits  of  research  in  printed  things  I  could  find 
here  before  I  could  start  writing  And  the  War  Came.   Then  I  made  a 
discovery  that  was  very  discouraging:  this  library  had  almost 
nothing  in  my  field  as  far  as  primary  research  materials  were 

It  sounds  like  they  didn't  have  anybody  teaching  your  field. 

There  was  no  one  teaching  my  field,  that's  right.   There  were  no 
newspapers,  there  were  hardly  any  microfilms.   I  discovered  that 
the  university  actually  owned  a  file  of  a  Boston  newspaper,  I 
think  it  was  the  Boston  Advertiser,  and  it  was  left  in  storage  in 



the  East.   One  of  the  first  things  I  did  was  to  get  them  to  bring 
that  paper  out.   It's  still  here. 

There  were  no  manuscript—outside  of  California  history,  of 
course,  lots  of  stuff,  but  that  was  not  what  was  interesting  me. 
I  thought,  "Well,  if  I'm  going  to  have  any  graduate  students, 
every  one  of  them  is  going  to  have  to  go  East  to  do  research, 
because  there's  nothing  here  for  them.  And  I'll  have  to  go  East 
for  mine . " 

It  wasn't  as  easy  to  go  East  then  as  it  is  now. 

It  wasn't.  When  I  did  go  East,  it  was  on  the  City  of  San 
Francisco,  which  took  thirty-nine  hours  from  here  to  Chicago—two 
nights  on  the  train— then  you  still  had  to  go  on  to  the  East,  to 
New  York  or  Washington. 


Stampp:   I  thought  that  I  really  couldn't  stay  here  very  long.   I  had  let 

people  know  in  Madison  that  I  probably  would  want  to  leave  after  a 
couple  of  years. 

Lage:    Did  you  make  any  effort  to  get  the  library  up  to  speed? 

Stampp:   That  came  a  bit  later,  when  I  had  some  bargaining  power.   I  didn't 
at  the  beginning. 

Settling  into  Teaching  and  Publishing 



So  I  began  teaching  a  survey  course  in  American  history.   I 
remember  walking  in  to  101  Cal  [California  Hall]— I  don't  know 
whether  you  remember  101  Cal  when  it  was  a  lecture  hall,  held 
about  400  students. 

I  do,  yes.   I  remember  it  well. 

Do  you?  Okay.   It  was  a  nice  lecture  hall- -you  didn't  realize  the 
size  of  it  from  the  podium  because  it  was  sort  of  like  this 
[shaped  like  an  amphitheater].   I  had  never  lectured  to  more  than 
thirty-five  students,  and  I  walked  in  there  one  Tuesday  morning 
and  found  400  students  in  there,  and  four  teaching  assistants  whom 
I  had  not  met  yet.   I  still  remember  one  of  them  asked  whether  I 
had  my  registration  card  with  me.   I  looked  kind  of  young  then, 
[laughter]   I  had  to  tell  them  I  was  going  to  run  this  course. 


Lage:     [laughs]   That's  great. 

Stampp:   And- -wow,  that  was  an  experience,  I  must  say,  lecturing  to  that 
many  students.   That  was  really  nerve- shatter ing. 

I  also  taught  a  course  in  the  history  of  the  Old  South,  Civil 
War  and  Reconstruction,  my  first  year,  and  it  was  the  first  time  I 
had  a  chance  to  do  that.   I  did  one  year  teach  a  course  in  the 
history  of  the  South,  my  last  year  in  Maryland.  Gewehr  used  to 
teach  it,  and  he  gave  it  up  to  me. 

Lage:    Must  have  been  nice  to  be  hired  to  cover  a  field  you  were 
interested  in. 

Stampp:   My  own  field,  really,  for  the  first  time.   I  gave  my  course  in  the 
history  of  the  Old  South.   I  had  about,  oh,  sixty  or  seventy 
students  in  it.   It  was  a  nice-sized  group.   I  had  a  seminar—it 
must  have  had  seven  or  eight  students  in  it.  That  I  liked  very 

Lage:    What  was  the  teaching  load  then?  Four  classes,  or  three? 

Stampp:   I  lectured  two  hours  each  week  in  the  survey  course.   I  gave  an 

upper-division  lecture  course,  that's  three  hours,  and  then  I  gave 
a  seminar.   So  it  was  two--f ive--seven  hours  of  teaching.   That 
was  something  too,  after  teaching  twelve  hours  in  Maryland,  and 
having  teaching  assistants  to  teach  the  discussion  sections,  and 
having  a  reader  for  my  upper-division  course.   That  was  real 
luxury . 

Lage:    So  this  was  different,  even  though  you  had  to  lecture  to  400. 
Stampp:   Yes.  Well,  that  was  different.   It  was  quite  an  experience. 

Stampp:   I  spent  all  my  spare  time  writing  And  the  War  Came,  and  also  I 
went  East  for  conventions,  took  the  train  East.   I  got  travel 
money,  research  money,  to  do  that.   I  conferred  with  a  new 
director  of  the  Indiana  Historical  Bureau,  I  believe  in  1947.   I 
had  sent  him  the  revised  dissertation  manuscript,  and  he  thought 
it  was  great,  "We're  going  to  publish  it."  That  was  wonderful. 
It  came  out  in  1949,  finally. 

So  I  was  hard  at  work  on  And  the  War  Came.   I  finished  that 
in  1948.   I  submitted  the  first  couple  of  chapters  to  Alfred 
Knopf,  and  I  remember  a  daughter  of  Samuel  Eliot  Morison  was  the 
editor  at  Knopf,  Emily  Morison.   The  manuscript  came  back  to  me  in 
about  two  weeks,  maybe  less  than  two  weeks.   I  was  quite 
indignant;  I  didn't  think  they  had  taken  much  time  looking  at  it. 










And  what  were  their  comments? 

No,  wait  a  minute.  They  sent  the  two  chapters  back  and  they 
didn't  think  they  were  interested  in  it—that  was  it.  The  man  in 
American  history  who  did  a  lot  of  traveling  out  here  at  that  time 
was  Roger  Shugg,  who  later  went  to  the  University  of  Chicago 
Press—he  worked  for  Knopf  at  that  time.   I  was  pretty  indignant 
about  the  speed  with  which  they  made  the  decision  on  a  couple  of 
chapters  I  sent. 

So  apparently,  Dick  Hofstadter  talked  to  Shugg  and  said,  "Ken 
was  pretty  upset  about  this,"  and  Roger  wrote  and  said,  "Well, 
look.   Dick  says  you  don't  think  we  gave  you  much  time,  but  when 
you  finish  the  manuscript,  send  the  whole  thing  and  let  us  read 
the  whole  thing."  So  I  finished  it  in  1948,  and  I  sent  it  to 
Knopf,  and  they  turned  it  down  again,  the  whole  thing.   I  said, 
"I'll  never  send  another  manuscript  to  Knopf,  so  help  me." 

Why  Knopf?  Why  did  you  send  it  to  Knopf  to  begin  with? 

Knopf  was  then  and  still  is  one  of  the  best  publishers  in  American 
history.   They  do  beautiful  books.  Alfred  Knopf  really  cared 
about  the  format  of  a  book.   So  I  swore  I  would  never  send  a  book 
to  them  again.   I  sent  it  to  LSU  Press,  Louisiana  State  University 
Press,  and  they  loved  it.   They  took  it  and  published  it  in  1950, 
so  that  looked  pretty  good:  a  book  out  in  1949  and  another  book  in 

Made  you  look  very  enterprising. 

It  had  wonderful  reviews.   I  didn't  get  a  single  critical  review; 
it  really  was  good.   I  found  out  later  that  it  was  second  for  the 
Pulitzer  Prize.   I  found  that  out  through  the  head  of  the  LSU 
Press.   Well,  being  second  is  like- 
No  one  else  knows.   [laughter] 
That's  right.   But  anyway,  it  did  make  me  feel--. 

Was  there  anyone  at  Berkeley  that  you  had  read  your  book,  or  were 
you  sending  chapters  to  anyone? 

I  should  talk  about  that,  that's  very  important.   Dick  Hofstadter 
read  it.   He  wasn't  happy  about  the  first  couple  of  chapters.   He 
wanted  it  to  be  a  little  jazzier  at  the  beginning,  and  I  didn't 
quite  know  how  to  do  that.   The  first  book  I  wrote  on  my  own 
without  anyone.   Hesseltine  read  it,  but  he  wasn't  much  of  an 





My  friend  Dick  Current  had  left  the  eastern  shore  of 
Maryland,  and  then  he  had  gone  to  a  series  of  jobs.  He  had  one  up 
in  northern  Michigan  at  a  state  college,  and  then  he  taught  at 
Lawrence  College  in  Appleton,  Wisconsin.   In  about  19A7,  I  think 
at  the  end  of  my  first  year—maybe  '48—he  got  a  job  at  Mills 
College.   He  was  out  here  for  four  years — I  think  it  was  '48  to 
"52  that  he  was  out  here. 

This  was  wonderful.  We  met  frequently,  our  families  met.   He 
lived  on  the  Mills  campus,  so  we  would  go  down  there,  and  he  would 
come  up  here,  or  we  would  meet  halfway  and  then  picnic.   I  gave 
Dick  all  my  chapters.  Now,  Dick  was  a  much  better  writer  than  I 
was—he  majored  in  English  and  the  classics  as  an  undergrad--and  I 
guess  he  was  just  naturally  a  good  writer.   He  went  through  my 
chapters  and  did  a  lot  of  editing  of  them  and  told  me  about  ways 
to  improve  the  prose  and  so  on.   So  I  thanked  him,  I  hope  enough, 
in  the  preface.   The  book,  as  it  turned  out,  was  pretty  well 
written- -thanks  partly  at  least  to  Dick  Current— and  very  well 
received,  very  well  reviewed. 

By  that  time,  I  had  decided  I  was  going  to  write  a  book  on 
slavery.   I  had  finished  And  the  War  Came  in  '48,  and  people  later 
asked  me,  "What  made  you  decide  to  write  a  book  on  slavery?"  I 
don't  know  the  answer  to  it,  except  that  from  my  radical  days  back 
in  the  1930s,  I  had  always  been  interested  in  race  relations  and 
saw  prejudice  in  Maryland  and  in  Washington,  D.C.   Did  you  know 
that  blacks  could  not  eat  in  restaurants  in  Washington  at  that 

In  Washington  itself. 

The  American  Historical  Association  once  met  at  the  Mayflower 
Hotel  in  the  1950s,  and  the  hotel  had  to  make  a  special 
dispensation  and  let  blacks  come  into  the  hotel  and  eat  in  the 
dining  room  and  even  sit  in  the  bar.   As  soon  as  the  AHA  meeting 
came  to  an  end,  the  old  rules  were  back,   and  no  black  could  sit 
in  the  bar  in  the  Mayflower. 

And  everybody  was  aware  of  it. 

In  Washington,  yes.   So  all  these  things  did  get  me  interested, 
and  of  course  my  master's  thesis  was  on  the  antislavery  movement 
in  the  South.   That  at  least  got  me  involved  in  some  of  the 
material,  the  kinds  of  materials  that  I  would  have  to  use. 

When  I  was  teaching,  the  only  book  that  I  could  give  my 
students  to  read  was  U.  B.  Phillips'  American  Negro  Slavery,  or 
Life  and  Labor  in  the  Old  South. 


Lage:    That  would  be  an  impetus  right  there. 

Stampp:   Yes.   Well,  my  lectures  were  really  a  refutation  of  U.  B. 
Phillips.  That  was  kind  of  easy  to  do. 

I  had  a  student  who  was  out  here  for  just  one  year,  Richard 
Heffner,  who  got  his  B.A.  and  M.A.  at  Columbia.   He  was  my 
teaching  assistant  in  1947-48.   He  was  not  actually  in  my  seminar. 
I  had  been  saying  in  my  seminar,  "Somebody  has  got  to  write  a  new 
book  about  slavery.   This  just  won't  do."  U.  B.  Phillips  was 
published  in  1918  or  '19.  To  the  best  of  my  recollection,  it  was 
Dick  Heffner  who  said,  "Well,  why  don't  you  write  it?"  As  far  as 
I  know,  that's  the  first  time  I  had  considered  it. 

Lage:     So  the  light  bulb  went  off. 

Stampp:   I'll  tell  you  one  reason  why  I  hesitated.   I  thought  a  Southerner 
had  to  do  it.   Southern  history  at  that  time  was  still  being 
written  by  Southerners.   I  can't  think  of  any  book  on  the  South 
that  had  not  been  written  by  a  Southerner,  with  two  exceptions. 
Herbert  Aptheker  wrote  a  book  called  American  Negro  Slave  Revolts, 
and  it  was  published  by  the  Communist  party  press--!  can't 
remember  the  name  of  it;  and  Frederick  Bancroft  wrote  a  book  on 
slave  trading  in  the  old  South,  and  he  was  a  Northerner.   Every 
study  on  slavery  that  I  knew  of  at  that  time  was  written  by  a 
Southerner.   I  knew  that  Southerners  were  still  feeling  very 
sensitive  about  this,  and  I  thought  it  really  ought  to  be  a 
Southerner  who  wrote  it. 

Lage:    For  acceptance  purposes. 

Stampp:  For  acceptance  purpose,  yes.  Anyway,  I  finally  decided,  I'm  going 
to  try  it.  So  I  began  shortly  after  finishing  And  the  War  Came  to 
do  research  on  it,  from  what  I  could  do  here. 

An  Offer  from  the  University  of  Illinois 

Stampp:   In  1949,  my  friends  at  Wisconsin—Fred  Harrington,  incidentally, 
had  left  Arkansas  and  gone  back  to  Wisconsin  and  was  a  professor 
there;  my  professor  was  still  there,  Hesseltine--heard  of  a  job  at 
the  University  of  Illinois.   James  G.  Randall,  who  was  a  Lincoln 
biographer  and  one  of  the  major  figures  in  the  Civil  War  period, 
was  retiring,  and  I  guess  my  professors  at  Madison  practically 
guaranteed  that  I  would  take  the  job  because  they  knew  that  I 
wanted  to  leave  here. 


So  Illinois  wrote  to  me,  and  I  wrote  and  said,  "Yes,  I  am 
interested,"  and  they  offered  me  the  job.   They  offered  me  an 
associate  professorship  at--oh,  something  over  $5,000.   It  was 
more  than  I  was  getting  here. 

I  told  Hicks,  who  was  back  in  the  department  by  then,  that  I 
was  seriously  thinking  about  taking  it.   I  wrote  a  letter  of 
acceptance,  as  a  matter  of  fact—you  sent  things  air  mail  then—an 
air  mail  letter  in  which  I  accepted  the  job.   Before  I  mailed  it, 
I  had  a  phone  call  from  Robert  Gordon  Sproul,  the  president,  and 
he  asked  me  to  come  in  and  talk  to  him.   I  did,  and  he  offered  to 
match  the  offer.   He  offered  me  an  immediate  promotion  to 
associate  professor,  top-ranked  associate  professor.   However, 
there  was  a  sort  of  tradition  in  this  department  that  everyone  had 
his  turn  about  being  promoted. 

Lage :     So  that  had  been  part  of  your  dissatisfaction. 

Stampp:   I  said  to  Sproul,  "Well,  I'm  getting  a  big  jump  from  a  third-step 
assistant  professor  to  a  top-step  associate  professor,  which  means 
in  two  years,  in  1951,  I  will  be  eligible  to  be  considered  for 
promotion  to  full  professor,  and  I  want  to  be  considered.   You  may 
find  that  I'm  not  worthy  of  it,  but  I  don't  want  two  years  from 
now  to  be  told,  'Well,  you  were  given  that  big  jump;  therefore, 
you  can't  be  promoted  now.'"  He  agreed  that  two  years  hence,  '51, 
I  would  be  considered  for  promotion. 

Then  he  said,  "I  understand  that  you  don't  have  adequate 
research  materials  out  here,"  and  I  said,  "No,  I  don't."   He  said, 
"Well,  we  can  do  something."  These  were  the  flush  times  in 
Berkeley.   He  said,  "I'll  see  to  it  that  there  is  a  provision  in 
the  library  budget  for--"  I  don't  know  how  long  into  the  future, 
"--$10,000  a  year  for  you  to  buy  materials."  That  sounded  pretty 
good.   I  spent  a  lot  of  time  the  next  few  years  finding  newspapers 
that  could  be  either  purchased  or  microfilmed  here,  and  manuscript 
collections  that  had  been  microfilmed,  and  I  did  build  up  a  pretty 
good  collection  here. 

I  decided  then  I  would  stay,  so  I  had  to  tear  up  my  letter 
and  say  I  was  going  to  stay.   I  liked  it  here  pretty  much  anyway. 
My  professors  at  Wisconsin  were  pretty  upset,  though,  about  it. 
They  said,  "We  told  them,  we  almost  guaranteed  that  you  would 
come."   [laughter]   So  that  really  was  in  a  way  a  decision  that  I 
was  going  to  stay  here  the  rest  of  my  life. 

Lage:    Did  you  see  it  that  way  at  the  time,  do  you  think? 
Stampp:   I  think  so.   I  really  did  like  it. 


Lage:    You  liked  the  area. 

Stampp:   I  liked  the  area.   I  love  the  whole  Bay  Area.   I  love  San 

Francisco;  I  thought  it  was  a  wonderful  thing  to  have  that  city 
right  across  the  bay.   I  like  Berkeley,  and  Telegraph  Avenue  was  a 
nice  street,  a  nice  Bohemian  street  at  that  time,  I  thought.  And 
I  liked  the  university. 

Things  were  looking  up  in  the  liberal  arts  in  general  by  '49. 
I  remember  Merle  Curti  was  offered  a  job  out  here  in  1948,  and  he 
asked  me  whether  he  should  take  it.   I  said,  "Well,  that's  up  to 
you,  but  if  I  were  you,  I'd  stay  at  Wisconsin,"  and  he  did.   I 
think  he  was  going  to  anyway. 

Lage:    But  things  were  changing  in  those  years. 
Stampp:   Yes.   Things  were  beginning  to  change. 

Lage:    I  think  we  should  save  that,  because  we  really  want  to  look  at  how 
things  changed. 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  had  made  my  decision  really  to  stay  here,  and  I  had  two 
books  finished  and  ready  to  be  published,  and  I  was-- 

Lage:    And  you  had  learned  how  to  lecture  to  400  people. 

Stampp:   I  had  learned  how  to  lecture  to  400  people,  and  I  was  not  too  bad 
at  it,  I  was  pretty  good.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  Hicks  had  heard 
that  my  lectures  were  very  good,  and  my  enrollment  in  my  upper- 
division  course  had  grown  from  about  fifty  or  sixty  students  the 
first  time  to  200  or  300  students. 

Lage:    So  you  lost  that  smaller-- 

Stampp:   I  lost  that  small  group  there.   Hicks  once  asked  me  whether  I  had 
preachers  in  my  family  or  something.   [laughter] 

Lage:    That  must  have  given  you  mixed  emotions! 
Stampp:  Well,  it  did,  as  a  matter  of  fact. 

A  Break  with  Hesseltine 
[Interview  5:  May  14,  1996]  ## 

Lage:    Today  is  May  14,  1996,  and  this  is  our  fifth  interview. 


Stampp:   You  asked  me  about  Hesseltine  giving  a  lecture  in  uniform:  that 
never  happened,  to  the  best  of  my-- 

Lage:    You  don't  remember?  That  was  an  incident  Leon  Litwack  mentioned 
to  me. 

Stampp:   No,  I  don't  remember  that  it  ever  happened.   Leon  certainly 

wouldn't  know  about  it,  because  if  that  had  happened,  it  would 
have  been  in  1945. 

Lage:    I  think  it  was  something  you  had  told  him. 

Stampp :   I  may  have  told  him  about  my  shock  at  his  going  or  agreeing  to  go 
to  Shrivenham  and  wear  a  uniform— 

Lage:    That  probably  was  it. 

Stampp:  When  he  was  teaching  G.I.'s  at  Shrivenham,  England,  he  would  have 
been  in  a  uniform.   I  never  saw  him. 

Lage:    I  see.  Well,  I  could  have  misinterpreted  that.  Was  Hesseltine  in 
the  military  then? 

Stampp:   No.   He  had  to  wear  a  military  uniform.   There  were  several 

professors  from  the  University  of  Wisconsin  who  went  to  Shrivenham 
and  probably  elsewhere.   It  just  happened  that  the  head  of  my 
history  department  at  Maryland,  Wesley  Gewehr,  was--I  can't 
remember  why--he  was  responsible  for  finding  some  historians  who 
would  go  and  lecture  at  Shrivenham,  and  I  mentioned  my  professor, 
thinking  he  would  never  go.   To  my  astonishment,  Gewehr  said, 
"Yes,  he's  going."  He  went  alone;  his  wife  stayed  back  here,  and 
he  had  to  put  on  a  uniform,  I  know  that,  and  lecture  to  G.I.'s. 
It  was  the  same  sort  of  thing  that  I  was  doing  at  Maryland. 

Lage:    But  not  in  uniform. 

Stampp:   Not  in  uniform—definitely  not  in  uniform—but  over  there,  I  guess 
he  had  to  put  on  a  uniform. 

Lage:    Did  you  ever  talk  to  him  about  it? 

Stampp:   I  think  I  kept  my  surprise  to  myself.   I  was  still  too  close  to 
having  been  a  student  of  his. 

Lage:    How  does  that  student-teacher  relationship  change  over  the  years? 
Stampp:   In  this  case? 
Lage:    Yes,  in  this  case. 


Stampp:   Every  professor  is  different.  My  policy  was  when  my  Ph.D.'s  get 
their  degrees,  we're  on  a  first-name  basis,  and  that  teacher- 
student  relationship  was  over.   I  never  would  have  felt 
comfortable  calling  Hesseltine  by  his  first  name,  and  never  did, 
nor  did  any  of  his  other  students. 

When  I  wrote  to  him,  I  called  him,  "Dear  W.  B.  H.,"  and  when 
I  spoke  to  him—you  know,  I  think  I  avoided  calling  him  anything. 
I  thought  when  I  got  to  be  in  my  forties—it  was  kind  of 
ridiculous  for  me  to  keep  on  calling  him  "Professor  Hesseltine," 
but  he  never  asked  any  of  his  students  to  call  him  by  his  first 

Lage:    So  the  feeling  was  obviously  projected,  that  you  shouldn't  do  it. 

Stampp:   Yes. 

Lage:    Things  were  more  formal  then. 

Stampp:  Well,  I  called  John  Hicks,  who  was  ten  years  older  than 

Hesseltine,  I  always  called  him  John  out  here.  And  even  when  I 
met  him  before  I  came  out  here,  I  was  on  a  first-name  basis  with 
him.   For  some  reason,  Hesseltine  apparently  didn't  encourage  it. 

Lage:    Do  you  know  if  his  approach  to  history  changed  after  the  war?  Did 
he  continue— 

Stampp:   I  don't  know  much  about  that.   I  doubt  it  very  much.   He  was  a 

rather  bitter  man  after  the  war.   For  some  reason,  he  was  sort  of 
paranoid  about  this— that  because  of  his  views  on  politics,  people 
were  against  him.   His  aspiration  at  Wisconsin  was  to  be  chairman 
of  the  department .   But  if  he  had  become  chairman  of  the 
department,  he  would  have  been  impossible.   It's  too  bad  when 
someone  doesn't  realize  what  he  can  do  and  what  he  can't  do.   He 
was  always  wanting  a  big  offer  from  somewhere,  and  he  wanted  to 
come  out  here. 

I'll  tell  you  something  that  I  have  no  written  evidence  for 
except  one  conversation  with  Hicks.  Hicks  and  Hesseltine  were 
very  good  friends  at  Wisconsin,  even  though  they  disagreed- -never 
violently— but  disagreed  totally  in  their  attitude  toward 
Roosevelt's  foreign  policy,  and  about  our  involvement  in  the  war. 
They  were  still  very  good  friends,  but  when  Hicks  came  out  here  in 
1942,  I  think  Hesseltine  was  hoping  that  Hicks  could  bring  him 
out,  with  a  chair. 

And  I  remember  one  time  —  this  is  my  suspicion:  because  of 
Hesseltine 's  political  views,  Hicks  just  didn't  think  he  ought  to 


bring  him  out  here.   I  suspect  that  there  may  have  been  some 
connection  between  that  feeling  on  Hicks'  part  and  my  coming  here. 

Lage:    That's  interesting. 

Starapp:   Because  not  long  after  I  came,  a  chair  opened,  and  Hicks  said 
something  to  me  to  the  effect  that,  "Well,  it  would  be  nice  to 
have  Bill  Hesseltine,  but  we  have  you  now." 

Then  some  years  later—this  was  almost  incredible—a  job 
opened  at  the  University  of  Oregon.   I  can't  remember  whether  I 
was  actually  offered  the  job,  but  I  was  sort  of  being  asked  to 
come  up  and  consider  it.  At  that  time,  Hesseltine  knew  that  I 
still  had  a  very  sentimental  attachment  to  Wisconsin  and  that 
probably  the  one  place  that  might  tempt  me  to  leave  California  was 

So  he  had— I  have  the  letter  still— an  incredible  scheme, 
that  I  should  take  the  Oregon  job,  help  him  get  the  California 
job;  then  I  would  turn  down  the  Oregon  job  and  go  to  Wisconsin  in 
his  place.  Well,  I  was  not  going  to  do  anything  of  the  sort.   It 
didn't  strike  me  as  — 

Lage:     Sounds  pretty  iffy  in  there.   You  could  be  left  — 

Stampp:   Yes,  I  could  suddenly  find  myself  at  Oregon,  where  I  did  not  want 
to  be,  and  1  doubt  very  much  that  Hesseltine  would  have  got  the 
job  here  anyway.   So  it  was  an  incredible  thing,  and  1  would  not 
have  anything  to  do  with  it . 

My  relations  with  Hesseltine  became  very  bitter. 
Lage:     In  later  years? 

Stampp:   In  later  years.   Shall  I  talk  about  it  now? 
Lage:    I  think  as  long  as  we're  on  the  topic,  why  don't  we  talk  about  it? 

Stampp:   I  think  that  Hesseltine— I  don't  know  how  to  put  this  — I  think 

that  he  was  very  disappointed  that  he  didn't  get  a  chair  out  here. 
I  think  he  was  resentful  of  my  being  here. 

Lage:    Resentful  of  your  success? 

Stampp:   Yes,  that  I  got  promotion  to  tenure.   In  1951,  I  was  promoted  to 

full  professor,  I  think  it  was  '51,  and  as  he  saw  it,  he  was  stuck 
at  Wisconsin.   Frank  Freidel  was  at  Stanford  by  then,  and  I  was 
here,  and  Dick  Current  was  at  Illinois. 








Then  I  applied  for  a  Guggenheim  fellowship  to  do  research  on 
my  slavery  book,  I  asked  Hesseltine  to  write  a  letter  for  me. 
Well,  he  wrote  two  letters.  One  he  didn't  send—he  sent  to  me-- 
and  the  other  he  sent  to  the  Guggenheim,  which  said  "he's  a  fine 
young  scholar."  The  one  he  sent  to  me  said,  "Well,  Professor 
Stampp 's  been  taken  over  by  the  anthropologists  and  the 
sociologists,  and  he's  full  of  just  bananas,  and  if  this  is  the 
kind  of  stuff  that  interests  you,"  and  so  on,  "take  him." 

Oh,  my  goodness!   That  must  have  been  hard  to  take. 

Well,  you  see,  it  was  half  humor  and  half  serious.  Hesseltine  was 
always  very  narrow  as  far  as  his  conception  of  good  history  was 
concerned,  and  writing  history.   He  always  called  social  and 
intellectual  history  "social  and  inconsequential  history."  He  had 
no  use  for  sociologists,  anthropologists,  and  all  of  these  people, 
and  any  historian  who  got  taken  in  was-- 

All  the  things  that  were  coming  into  history  at  that  time. 

Yes.   I  guess  in  a  way,  he  became  more  southern  as  he  grew  older. 
There  was  a  streak  of  anti-Semitism  in  him  that  I  found  very 
disagreeable,  which  probably  grew  out  of  the  war  and  the  tendency 
of  American  Jews  to  support  the  war  with  considerable  enthusiasm. 

Then  my  slavery  book  was  published,  and  most  professors  don't 
ever  review  books  of  their  own  students.   It's  just  like  incest. 
I  have  never  reviewed  a  book  of  a  student  of  mine.   Hesseltine 
reviewed  my  book  in  the  Milwaukee  Journal,  my  hometown  newspaper, 
and  it  was  a  nasty  review,  a  really  nasty  review. 

What  objections  did  he  have? 

Oh,  he  said  the  time  may  have  come  for  a  new  and  objective  study 
of  slavery.   "Professor  Stampp  has  not  written  that  book.   This 
book  is  full  of  his  prejudices--"  these  aren't  the  exact  words, 
but  something  of  that  sort.   Then  at  the  very  end,  there  was  a 
nasty  remark.   He  said,  "The  book  is  neatly  geared  to  attract  the 
Pulitzer  prize  committee."  Well,  it  didn't  win  a  Pulitzer  prize. 
It  didn't  win  any  prize,  in  fact,  until  many,  many  years  later. 

After  that,  I  was  pretty  fed  up  with  him. 
contact  after  1957. 

That's  kind  of  sad. 

Yes,  it  is  sad. 

He  does  sound  like  a  bitter  individual. 

We  had  almost  no 


Stampp:   Yes.   He  was  very  bitter  in  those  last  years. 

Lage:    Even  the  way  he  didn't  support  you  for  a  fellowship  when  you  were 
in  your  Ph.D.  years. 

Stampp:   Oh,  yes.   So  it  was  an  up-and-down  relationship  I  always  had  with 
him.   Hesseltine  didn't  turn  out  to  be  a  major  scholar.   He  wrote 
quite  a  lot,  and  the  books  got  less  and  less  consequential  instead 
of  more  and  more  consequential  as  he  got  older. 

There  was  always  a  very  cynical  streak  in  him  that  I  found 
exciting  and  provocative  when  I  was  a  graduate  student,  but  I 
found  it  getting  a  bit  tedious  afterward.  He  was  very  cynical 
about  abolitionists  and  tried  to  find  sordid  motives  for  their 

Lage:    Is  this  his  southernism  coming  out,  do  you  think? 

Stampp:   Well,  to  some  extent.   I  always  thought  of  him  as  a  very  liberal 
man  on  race  issues,  but  you  know,  in  the  later  years  he  began 
referring  to  Negroes  as  "niggers."   The  worst  thing  I  ever  heard 
him  do  was  at  a  party  at  his  house.   I  wasn't  there,  but  I  heard 
about  it  from  some  of  his  students  out  there.   He  had  a  black 
graduate  student.   He  got  up  on  a  chair  and  pretended  he  was 
auctioning  him  off. 

Lage:    Oh!   Would  this  have  been  in  the  sixties? 

Stampp:   No,  it  was  in  the  fifties,  as  I  recall.  All  in  all,  he  turned  out 
in  his  later  years  to  have  lost  a  lot  of  the  charm  he  had  in  the 

Lage:  Well,  that's  finishing  that  story  up. 

Stampp:  Yes. 

Lage:  I'm  glad  Hicks  didn't  bring  him  out. 

Stampp:  Well,  if  he  had  come,  I  would  have  left,  and  that  didn't  happen. 

Moving  Away  from  Beardian  Economic  Determinism 

Lage:    Well,  I'm  glad  we  got  onto  that.   I  looked  at  the  preface  to  the 

new  edition  of  And  the  War  Came.   I  think  it's  so  interesting  that 
you've  had  this  chance  to  look  back  on  your  books.   This  was  in 


Stampp:   Yes,  the  paperback  edition. 

Lage:    In  that  preface,  you  reflect  on  some  of  the  things  you  would  have 
done  differently,  and  remark  that  Beardian  economic  determinism 
was  inadequate. 

Stampp :   Yes . 

Lage:    When  did  you  really—and  how--did  you  reject  the  Beardian 
approach,  or  was  it  over  a  long  period  of  time? 

Stampp:   It  was  something  that  changed  gradually.  As  Marxism  seemed  to  be 
a  less  satisfactory  way  of  interpreting  history,  so  did  economic 
determinism.   I  remember  very  clearly  still  saying  some  time  in 
1950  or  '51  in  the  history  office  that,  "In  my  opinion,  Charles  A. 
Beard  is  the  greatest  American  historian  of  the  twentieth 
century. " 

Lage:    So  this  change  would  have  been  after  1950. 

Stampp:   This  was  after  1950,  yes.   I  suppose  it  would  have  been  partly  the 
emergence  of  intellectual  history  in  American  historical  studies 
that  caused  me  to  rethink  some  of  my  positions. 

Lage:    That's  another  thing  you  mentioned  in  the  preface,  that  you  would 
have  paid  more  attention  to  the  ideologies  of  the  time. 

Stampp:   That's  right,  that  book—you're  reminding  me  now— that  book  was 

rather  skeptical  of  the  ideological  reasons  for  northerners  being 
willing  ultimately  to  use  force,  military  force,  to  suppress  the 
Confederacy.   I  tended  to  emphasize  economic  motivation,  the  fear 
that  there  would  be  a  tremendous  amount  of  smuggling  up  the 
Mississippi  River,  and  over  this  long,  unguarded  frontier 
merchants  would  lose  their  western  markets.   There  were  strategic 
considerations  about  who  was  going  to  control  the  Caribbean,  who 
was  going  to  control  the  western  territories. 

I  think  I  remember  saying  that  if  I  had  to  rewrite  that  part, 
there  would  be  much  more  emphasis  on  ideological  motivations,  and 
I  would  take  them  much  more  seriously. 

But  I  just  can't  give  you  a  time  when  this  happened, 
something  that  happened  gradually. 

It  was 

I  remember  finally— this  must  have  been  the  fall  of  1960— 
several  American  historians:  Carl  Bridenbaugh,  Hunter  Dupree, 
Charles  Sellers,  Henry  May  and  I--I  think  it  was  those  five— would 
meet  periodically  at  one  house  or  another,  and  one  of  us  would 
present  a  paper. 


Henry  May,  who  had  long  before  I  did  rejected  economic 
determinism,  had  been  sort  of  a  Marxist  back  in  the  thirties,  too. 
I  remember  reading  a  paper--! 'm  sorry,  I  can't  remember  what  the 
paper  was  on- -in  which  I  expressed  skepticism  about  a  pure 
economic  interpretation  of  something.  And  to  my  astonishment, 
Henry  May  suddenly  switched  sides  and  was  seeing  more  merit  in  the 
economic  interpretation. 

Lage:    Henry  May,  the  intellectual  historian. 

Stampp:   That's  right.   I  remember  also  saying,  when  I  finished  and  heard 
Henry  make  this  comment,  "Henry,  I  knew  when  I  presented  this 
paper  that  you  would  suddenly  switch  to  the  other  side." 

Lage:    But  was  it  just  for  the  sake  of  argument? 

Stampp:   Well,  I  think  we  were  all  playing  around  with  interpretations,  and 
Henry  at  this  point,  since  I  was  more  or  less  taking  the  position 
he  might  ordinarily  have  taken,  suddenly  decided  to  switch  sides. 

Lage:    So  have  the  two  of  you  over  the  years  had  a  lot  of  good 
discussions,  shall  we  say? 

Stampp:   Oh,  Henry  and  I  had  lots  of  good  discussions.   Have  I  not  talked 
to  you  about  this  before? 

Lage:    No. 

Stampp:   Henry  and  I  had  a  sort  of  up-and-down  relationship.  We  were  very 
close  in  age.   I  always  had  great  admiration  for  Henry  as  a 
thinker  and  as  an  historian.   I  think  he's  absolutely  first  rate. 
1  got  a  chair  in  1957,  and  when  I  got  it,  I  thought  about  Henry. 
I  thought,  there's  no  reason,  other  than  something  I  deplore—and 
that  is  seniority—that  he  didn't  get  it.   I  remember  driving  home 
with  Henry  one  time,  and  I  said,  "Henry,  you  deserved  the  chair  as 
much  as  I  did."   I  think  that's  all  I  said. 

We  had  differences  on  the  FSM  movement  in  1964- '65.   There 
were  times  when  I  didn't  see  much  of  Henry.   But  as  we  got  older, 
these  differences  became  less  and  less,  and  now  he's  a  very  good 
and  valued  friend.  We're  no  longer  in  the  department,  except  as 
emeriti.   But  we  meet  for  lunch  about  once  every  other  week,  and 
by  and  large,  we  agree  on  most  things.  We  have  some  differences 
now  and  then. 

Lage:     It  wouldn't  be  any  fun  if  you  had  no  differences, 


Stampp:   Oh,  of  course  not.   [laughter]   Henry  is  a  little  less  steady--! 

hope  Henry  never  hears  this--a  little  less  steady.  Henry  tends  to 
go  up  and  down. 

Lage:    In  his  views,  you  mean? 

Stampp:   In  his  views—talking  about  contemporary  politics.   One  week, 

Henry  was  disgusted  with  Bill  Clinton,  and  I  said,  "Well,  who  are 
you  going  to  vote  for?"  He  said,  "Well,  I  guess  I'll  have  to  vote 
for  him." 

I  tend  to  be,  I  think,  a  little  more  steady  and  persistent  in 
my  political  views  and  make  allowances  for  what  is  possible  than 
he  does.  But  by  and  large,  we  get  on  extremely  well.  Henry  and 
Jean  were  awfully  good  friends  in  times  of  trouble.  My  wife  had 
lots  of  trouble  in  the  last  six  years  of  her  life,  and  Henry  and 
Jean  were  wonderful,  especially  since  she  died  in  March. 

Lage:    Yes.   That  becomes  much  more  important  than  slight  political 
differences,  doesn't  it?  As  you  get  older,  especially. 

Stampp:   Yes. 

Loyalty  Oath  at  Berkeley 

Lage:    Well,  we'll  probably  talk  more  about  that  when  we  get  to  the 
sixties.   Shall  we  go  back  to  the  early  years  here  in  the 

Stampp:   All  right.  Now,  I  don't  remember  where  we  left  off. 

Lage:    Well,  we  got  you  here,  we  got  you  hired.  You  gave  some  initial 

impressions  of  coming  out  and  impressions  of  the  area,  and  of  the 
department,  starting  to  teach-- 

Stampp:   Oh,  big  courses,  yes. 

Lage:    Right,  and  the  two  books  published,  and  then  Sproul's  effort  to 
keep  you,  and  that's  where  we  stopped. 

Stampp:   With  Sproul,  yes. 

Lage:    And  giving  you  the  money  to  build  up  the  research  collection. 

Stampp:   Yes,  giving  me  a  promotion  and  a  salary  increase,  and  also  money 
to  build  up  the  resources  of  the  library. 


Lage:    Then  you  knew  that  you  would  be  here  for  some  time  at  that  point. 
Stampp:   Okay,  well,  that  really  takes  us  up  to  1949. 

Lage:  Right,  unless  there's  more—perhaps  more  about  the  old-timers  in 
the  department,  and  how  the  department  was  run.  I  don't  know  if 
that  will  come  out  as  you  talk  about  the  Loyalty  Oath,  or  do  you 
want  to  particularly  think  about  that? 

Stampp:   I'm  trying  to  remember.   In  '49,  I  turned  down  the  job  at 

Illinois,  and  that  summer,  I  taught  at  Wisconsin  for  the  third 
time,  the  summer  school.   I  taught  there  in  '45,  '46,  "49,  '52. 
was  feeling  pretty  good  about  Berkeley  and  about  my  new  position 
as  associate  professor,  and  feeling  a  little  less  economically 
strapped  than  I  had  been.   I  guess  this  is  where  the  oath  begins. 

Lage:    Okay. 

Personal  Politics  Postwar 

Stampp:   That,  of  course,  involves  reaction  to  politics  at  the  time,  and 
maybe  I  had  better  talk  about  that,  because  by  '49,  the  Cold  War 
had  begun,  the  House  Un-American  Activities  Committee  was 
everywhere.   The  city  of  Berkeley  was  under  a  very  conservative 
council  at  that  time.   There  were  some  pretty  right-wing  people  on 
it.   The  Berkeley  police  were  sort  of  helping  identify  radicals  on 
the  campus.   The  atmosphere  was,  in  that  sense,  very  unpleasant-- 
but  not  just  in  Berkeley;  that  was  everywhere  in  the  country. 
[Joseph]  McCarthy  was  in  the  United  States  Senate,  and  by  '50,  at 
least,  I  think  probably  '49,  he  was  sounding  off.   Richard  Nixon 
was  doing  his  dirty  work. 

Lage:    The  Alger  Hiss  conviction  was  in  '50. 

Stampp:   The  Alger  Hiss  thing  came  up,  and--oh,  my,  how  I  did  hope  that 
Alger  Hiss  was  innocent.   I  guess  he  wasn't. 

Lage:     It  seems  in  retrospect  that  he  wasn't. 

Stampp:   It  seems  in  retrospect  that  he  wasn't,  and  that  made  me  feel  very 
sad--the  fact  that  this  creepy  character  from  Time  magazine  should 
expose  him. 

Lage:    Whittaker  Chambers. 

Stampp:   Whittaker  Chambers,  yes.   That  was  an  awful  shock. 



Stampp : 





At  the  time,  did  you  feel  he  was  innocent? 

I  just  hoped  he  was.   I  just  hoped  he  was  innocent.  He  was 
somebody  that  I  admired.  Of  course,  he  was  just  red  meat  for 
Richard  Nixon.  Nixon  was  elected  first  in  1946  in  a  foul  campaign 
against  a  very  good  liberal  Democratic  congressman  in  southern 
California,  so  he  was  in  the  house.   I  think  it  was  1950  when  he 
ran  against  Helen  Gahagan  Douglas  calling  her  the  Pink  Lady,  and 
either  directly  or  indirectly,  making  scurrilous  charges  against 
her,  and  he  won.   So  things  looked  as  though  they  were  just 
politically  going  to  hell  at  that  point. 

And  how  had  your  politics  evolved  after  the  war? 

Well,  I  didn't  like  the  Cold  War,  and  my  tendency  was  to  blame  the 
United  States  and  the  Russians  about  equally.   I  was  delighted 
when  Harry  Truman  was  elected  in  1948,  but  I  didn't  vote  for  him. 
This  is  when  my  friend  Richard  Current  was  at  Mills  College,  and 
we  had  endless  discussions  about  American  foreign  policy  and 
national  politics.  We  were  always  very,  very  close  in  our 
thinking  about  it. 

In  1948,  Dick  Current  and  I  argued  about  whom  we  were  going 
to  support  as  if  the  future  of  the  country,  if  not  the  world, 
depended  on  our  two  votes.   We  started  off  supporting  Henry 
Wallace,  and  during  the  summer  of  '48,  we  were  both  Wallace- ites . 
Because  our  position  was  really  "a  plague  on  both  your  houses"--we 
didn't  like  American  foreign  policy,  and  we  didn't  like  Russian 
foreign  policy- -we  thought  that  Henry  Wallace  was  getting  too 
close  to  the  Communists,  that  he  was  laying  all  the  blame  on 
American  foreign  policy,  and  that  didn't  strike  us  as  fair. 

So  in  the  end,  we  decided  to  vote  for  the  Socialist  Workers' 
party  candidate  for  president,  Farrell  Dobbs,  because  he  was  the 
one  candidate  who  was  saying,  "A  plague  on  both  your  houses-- 
you're  both  imperialists." 

So  the  Socialist  Workers' 

Party  didn't  have  a  connection  to  the 

Well,  that  was  a  Trotskyist  party—it  was  one  branch  of  the 
Trotskyist  movement;  there  were  always  two  branches.  They  fought 
each  other  as  if-- 

[laughs]   As  if  the  future  depended  on  it. 

--as  if  the  future  depended  on  it.   I  also  remember  a  story  about 
one  group  of  Trotskyists,  the  Canonists,  and  another  group--! 
can't  remember  the  name.   One  group  was  always  heckling  the  other 


when  they  had  a  meeting  in  New  York.   I  remember  one  group,  let's 
say  it  was  the  Canonists,  attending  a  meeting  of  the  other  group, 
and  the  man  on  the  platform  saying  to  the  hecklers  down  below, 
"All  right,  we'll  take  power  without  you."   [laughter]  Which  was 
really  a  long  way  from  reality. 

So  we  voted  for  Farrell  Dobbs,  but  1  remember  sitting  up 
hoping  that  Truman  would  beat  Dewey  that  year. 

Lage:    Of  course,  this  same  kind  of  decision  occurred  in  the  sixties. 
Stampp:   Yes,  and  when  Roosevelt  ran  against  Landon  in  1936. 

Lage:    I'm  thinking  of  the  Goldwater  election—whether  to  vote  Democrat, 
Republican—the  same  kind  of  arguments  went  on  in  the  next 
generation:  did  it  make  a  difference? 

Stampp:   Oh,  well,  there  was  no  doubt  in  my  mind  about  that. 

Lage:    But  in  this  earlier  stage  in  your  life,  maybe  that  was  a  similar 
decision,  and  you  decided  to  vote  for  the  throwaway  vote,  in  a 

Stampp:   Yes.   That  was  1948.   By  1952,  I  had  changed.   I  think  1944  was 
the  last  time  I  voted  for  the  socialist  candidate. 

By  1952,  because  I  think  of  the  threat  of  McCarthyism,  and 
because  I  found  that  Nixon  was  on  Eisenhower's  ticket,  I  got  very 
enthusiastic  about  Adlai  Stevenson.   It  was  the  first  time  I 
really  got  emotionally  involved  in  a  presidential  election, 
because  it  was  the  first  time  in  my  life  that  I  had  ever  thought 
the  man  I  was  supporting  would  win,  or  had  a  chance  to  win, 
anyway . 

The  Oath  and  Colleagues  in  History 

Stampp:   Maybe  I  had  better  not  go  into  that  right  now.   Let's  back  up  to 
1949.   The  summer  of  1949,  I  was  teaching  at  the  University  of 
Wisconsin,  the  summer  session,  and  I  received  my  reappointment 
letter  from  Berkeley. 


Stampp:   At  that  time,  at  Berkeley,  you  used  to  get  a  letter  reappointing 
you  every  year.   This  doesn't  happen  any  more.   It  was  kind  of 



Stampp : 



silly.  You  had  a  tenure  system,  but  you  got  the  letter  anyway. 
This  time  it  also  imposed  a  Loyalty  Oath. 

And  you  hadn't  heard  about  this? 

I  hadn't  heard  anything  about  it.   I  didn't  know  what  it  was  about 
until  I  got  back,  and  then  found  out  that  this  had  been  a  bad  idea 
of  Robert  Gordon  Sproul,  with  a  good  motive—that  is,  "Let's  take 
the  heat  off  the  university  by  having  the  faculty  sign  a  loyalty 
oath."  I  can't  even  remember  exactly  what  the  first  one  said,  but 
it  certainly  made  it  impossible  for  a  Communist  to  sign  it. 

1  took  the  oath,  but  I  didn't  sign  it  then.   I  took  it  back 
with  me  to  Berkeley  that  fall,  and  it  had  become  a  hot  issue.   I 
battled  with  myself  and  finally  signed  the  oath,  I  think  for 
purely  personal  reasons.   I  had  two  small  kids,  and  I  just  didn't 
want  to  get  fired.   So  I  signed  it. 

Did  you  discuss  it  with  people  in  the  department? 

Oh,  heavens  yes. 

There  was  only  one  nonsigner  in  the  history  department. 

In  the  history  department,  there  was  one  nonsigner.  A  lot  of-- 
well,  one  other  man,  Gordon  Griffiths,  who  was  the  son  of  a  member 
of  the  board  of  regents  as  a  matter  of  fact  [Farnham  P.  Griffiths, 
regent,  1948-1951],  refused  for  a  long  time  to  sign,  but 
eventually  he  did  sign. 

tenure,  and  I 
Berkeley  Ph.D. 
nonsigner  was 
and  I  think  he 
happened  to  be 
an  appointment 
so  never  came 

didn't  stay  very  long.   He  wasn't  promoted  to 
can  go  into  that  a  bit  later.   Griffiths  was  a 
,  I  think  he  worked  with  Frank  Palm.   The  one 
Ernst  Kantorowicz,  who  was  a  refugee  from  the  Nazis, 

was  not  married.   He  had  no  family 
es.   I  am  not  going  to  put  it  in  those  terms,  but  it 

true.   He  left  here  and  landed  on  his  feet;  he  got 

at  the  Institute  for  Advanced  Study  at  Princeton, 

He  was  very  well  regarded,  was  he  not? 

Very  highly  regarded  as  a  scholar,  a  European  historian. 

There  were  a  number  of  members  of  the  history  department  who 
were  indifferent  to  the  whole  thing.   There  were  some  who  really 
supported  it,  and  one  who  did  was  Raymond  J.  Sontag.  Among  those 
who  didn't  like  it  was  John  D.  Hicks  but  who  nevertheless  didn't 
really  want  us  all  to  make  a  big  issue  of  it. 


Lage:    Well,  he  was  a  key  figure. 

Stampp:   He  was  a  key  figure  in  trying  to  reach  a  compromise  in  1950,  and 
it  didn't  work.   Some  time  in  1950,  as  I  remember,  the  firing 
began,  and  there  were  twenty- four,  twenty- five,  something  like 
that,  who  had  not  signed.   There  grew  up--and  I  was  very  active  in 
this—an  interdepartmental  organization  to  support  the  nonsigners, 
but  I  can't  remember  the  name  of  it. 

Lage:    With  financial  assistance? 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  remember  that  Reinhard  Bendix  [associate  professor  of 
sociology]  was  in  it,  and— 

Lage:    Milton  Chernin? 

Stampp:   --Milt  Chernin,  yes.   I  couldn't  possibly  remember  all  the  names. 
I  just  happen  to  remember  Reinhard  Bendix  was  one  of  them.  We 
decided  to  organize  to  raise  money  to  pay  the  salaries  of  the 
nonsigners,  and  I  was  appointed  or  designated  as  the  person  to 
collect  money  from  members  of  the  history  department.   I  don't 
know  whether  I  should  tell  you  who  contributed  and  who  didn't. 
You  can  imagine  that  Ray  Sontag  didn't,  because  he  supported  the 
oath.   John  Hicks  did  contribute.   There  are  several  people  that  I 
thought  would.   By  and  large,  the  old  guard  didn't. 

Lage:    The  Bolton  students? 

Stampp:   The  Bolton  students—no,  wait,  that's  not  so.   No,  Jim  King  and 

Engel  Sluiter  did.   1  can't  remember  what  George  Hammond  did,  but 
Kerner,  Palm,  Van  Nostrand,  and  Sontag  did  not.  Among  the  younger 
people,  Armin  Rappaport  didn't  contribute,  but  the  rest,  as  I 
recall—Walt  Bean,  Engel  Sluiter,  Jim  King,  Carl  Bridenbaugh,  John 
Hicks,  Paul  Schaeffer,  George  Guttridge,  Lawrence  Harper— all 
contributed,  and  I  had  to  collect  every  month.   Everyone  decided 
what  he  could  afford  to  do.   Then  I  turned  the  money  over  to  the 
central  committee,  and  the  money  went  to  the  nonsigners. 

Lage:    Until  they  got  other  jobs? 

Stampp:   Until  they  got  other  jobs  or  until  they  came  back.   Some  of  them 
didn't  take  other  jobs. 

At  some  point,  and  I'm  not  sure  whether  it  was  1951— this 
thing  went  on  until  1952— it  appeared  that  the  regents  were  about 
to  give  in  on  this,  and  the  faculty  was  double-crossed.   I  was  so 
furious  that  1  wrote  to  Sproul  and  withdrew  my  oath  signature.   I 
got  a  phone  call  from  Sproul  urging  me  not  to  withdraw,  but  it  was 
an  empty  gesture  on  my  part.   I  can't  remember- - it 's  a  long  time 


ago  now—exactly  what  happened.  We  thought  there  was  going  to  be 
a  settlement,  an  acceptable  settlement. 

Lage:    After  all  that  time. 

Stampp:   Yes. 

Lage:    But  finally  it  was  settled  in  a  court  case. 

Stampp:   That's  right,  that's  the  way  it  was  finally  settled,  but  we  never 
reached  an  agreement  with  the  regents.  They  changed  the  oath  so 
that  everyone  had  to  swear  that  they  had  no  commitments  that 
interfered  with  the  free  pursuit  of  truth.  What  a  stupid  thing, 
as  if  anybody  had  no  commitments  that  didn't  in  some  way--.   I 
remember  going  up  to  [University  of  California]  Davis  in  1950  with 
Ray  Sontag.   Sproul  had  an  annual  conference  in  the  spring  up  at 
Davis,  and  he  would  invite  people  from  the  university—that  year, 
1950,  I  was  invited  to  come.   Sontag  was  there  also.   1  think  he 
and  I  were  the  only  two  from  the  history  department.   For  some 
reason,  Sontag  and  I--well,  I  can  think  of  several  reasons—never 
got  very  close. 

Anyway,  there  was  a  lot  of  wine  served,  and  1  think  there  was 
some  hard  liquor  before.   Sontag  and  I  both  had  a  fair  amount  to 
drink.   Sontag  suddenly  came  up  and  said,  "Let's  sit  down  at 
dinner  together."  We  had  a  very  candid  discussion,  I  guess  the 
only  one  we  ever  had  in  our  whole  relationship,  about  this  oath. 
He  said,  "Why  can't  you  sign  an  oath  like  that?"  I  said,  "You, 
Ray  Sontag,  you're  a  devout  Catholic.   Do  you  mean  you  can  sign 
that  oath  and  say  you  have  no  commitments  that  interfere  with  the 
free  pursuit  of  truth?"  I  can't  recall  what  he  said  in  reply,  but 
to  say  you  have  no  commitments --everyone  who  signed  it  was  a 
hypocrite,  for  heaven's  sakes. 

Lage:    The  compromise  that  Hicks  and  others  were  trying  to  effect- -didn't 
it  break  down  over  the  issue  of  whether  Communists  should  be 
employed?  It  seems  so,  from  reading  David  Gardner's  book. 

Stampp:   You  know,  I  haven't  gone  back  and  looked  over  this,  but  I  know 
that  Hicks  was  on  a  committee  with  somebody  in  the  economics 
department  who  was  the  chairman  of  it  and  worked  terribly  hard.   I 
think  it  was  Malcolm  Davidson.   I  think  his  health  broke  down  over 
this,  I  think  he  had  a  heart  seizure  just  from  the  strain  of  it. 

Lage:    The  economist,  or  Hicks? 

Stampp:   No,  not  Hicks,  the  economist.   I  don't  think  Hicks  ever  got 
passionate  enough  to  have  a  heart  seizure.   [laughter] 


Lage:    But  that  isn't  what  stands  out  in  your  mind,  that  one  of  the  key 

issues  that  prevented  compromise  was  that  the  regents  wanted  to  be 
sure  that-- just  the  fact  of  being  a  Communist  meant  you  couldn't 
be  a  faculty  member. 

Stampp:   That's  right. 

Lage:    And  others  were  willing  to  accept--? 

Stampp:  Well,  I  wouldn't  accept  that.  And  I  didn't  want  to  have  to  swear 
that  I  wasn't  a  Communist  either. 

Lage:    Did  you  have  fears  at  this  time- -was  it  that  scary,  the  fact  that 
you  had  been  to  meetings? 

Stampp:  Well,  perhaps  I  was  naive.   I  was  certainly  an  outspoken  opponent 
of  the  oath,  even  though  I  signed  it,  an  outspoken  supporter  of 
the  nonsigners,  and  an  outspoken  opponent  of  any  kind  of  rule  that 
members  of  some  political  group  cannot  be  a  member  of  the  faculty. 
I  didn't  ever  really  think  I  was  going  to  be  fired,  I  don't  know 
why.   I  had  never  joined  the  Communist  party,  so  I  really  didn't 
have  any  reason  to  fear  for  my  security. 

Lage:    But  at  that  time,  with  the  committees  doing  their  investigations, 
there  was  so  much  guilt  by  association. 

Stampp:   Yes,  that's  right.  And  by  that  time,  there  was  an  organization  on 
the  Berkeley  campus  called—well,  I  can't  say  on  the  campus, 
because  they  could  never  meet  on  the  campus  those  years,  no 
political  meetings  on  the  campus--but  there  was  an  organization  of 
Students  Against  McCarthy.   There's  no  question  that  a  lot  of  the 
students  in  the  group  were  either  Communists  or  fellow  travelers. 
I  for  a  long  time  always  thought  of  myself  as  one  of  the  fellow 
travelers . 

It  must  have  been  at  the  YMCA  across  the  street,  I  can't 
think  of  where--!  know  it  wasn't  on  campus.   Some  of  the  students 
asked  me  whether  I  would  speak.   I  did,  I  said  I  would,  and  I  knew 
that  the  leader  of  the  Communists  from  San  Francisco  was  there 
sitting  at  the  table,  and  I  also  knew  that  there  were  spies  from 
the  Berkeley  police  there  and  probably  FBI  people  there. 

But  I  wasn't  afraid.   It  may  have  been  naivete,  but  I  thought 
of  course  I'll  speak.  My  speech  was  against  all  forms  of  bigotry, 
not  only  the  Un-American  Activities  form  but  bigotry  within 
radical  movements,  intolerance  within  radical  movements—so  in  a 
way,  I  was  saying,  "We  all  had  better  watch  our  bigotry."   I 
didn't  worry  about  that  terribly  much. 



So  the  oath  controversy  was  finally  settled  in  '53,  was  it? 
'52.   I  really  can't  remember. 


Lage:    Did  it  leave  fissures  in  the  department? 

Stampp:   It  left  a  lot  of  bitterness.   I  mean,  it  really  damaged  morale  on 
the  campus.   But  just  remember,  Berkeley  was  not  the  only  place. 
It  was  happening  at  the  University  of  Washington,  it  was  happening 
all  over  the  country.   It  was  a  kind  of  reign  of  terror,  this 

It  seems  to  me  that,  as  I  recall,  the  regents  left  the 
university  alone  pretty  much.   Sproul  weathered  it.   Sproul 
quickly,  as  you  know,  realized  that  he  had  made  a  mistake,  and  he 
switched.   He  had  a  battle  with  the  regents.   He  had  Earl  Warren 
on  his  side,  which  was  wonderful.   He  had  the  San  Francisco 
Chronicle  on  his  side,  as  well. 

Lage:    But  I  think  it  was  the  only  paper  in  the  state-- 

Stampp:   Well,  not  the  Los  Angeles  Times,  no,  but  the  Chronicle.   Possibly 
the  Sacramento  See  also  was  on  the  faculty's  side.   Our  public 
critics  usually  asked,  "Well,  if  you're  not  a  Communist,  why  don't 
you  say  you're  not  a  Communist?  Why  do  you  object  to  signing  an 
oath?"   One  of  the  objections  was  that  it  was  a  special  oath  for 
the  faculty,  that  other  state  employees  didn't  have  to  sign—and 
that's  where  the  faculty  got  into  trouble,  because  ultimately,  the 
advocates  of  an  oath  said,  "Okay,  we'll  have  everybody  sign  it, 
including  the  faculty,  if  that's  all  you're  objecting  to." 

Lage:     So  we  end  up  signing  the  same  thing  that  the  state  employees  sign. 

Stampp:   So  all  state  employees,  including  the  faculty  of  the  universities 
and  state  colleges  had  to  sign  an  oath.   That  was  a  very  weak 
argument  on  our  part,  that  it  was  simply  a  special  oath  and 
therefore  we  objected  to  it.   It  was  not  because  it  was  a  special 
oath;  it  was  because  it  was  an  oath,  whether  it  was  a  special  oath 
for  faculty  or  not. 

I  can't  think  of  anything  more  to  say  about  that,  except  that 
there  was  a  lot  of  bitterness  afterwards.   In  the  department,  one 
knew  who  was  for  and  who  was  against. 

Lage:    Did  it  affect  the  future  of  the  department? 


Stampp:   Well,  Kantorowicz  never  came  back.   I  think  those  who  supported 

the  nonsigners  usually  knew  who  was  not  supporting  the  nonsigners, 
and  it  took  a  long  time  for  that  to  be  forgotten. 

Let  met  finish  the  story  of  Gordon  Griffiths.   He  was  here  by 
1949,  he  might  have  come  in  '48.  He  was  a  good  Democratic 
liberal.   His  father  was  one  of  the  regents  who  opposed  the  oath. 
The  question  came  up  some  time  in  1953  whether  Gordon  Griffiths 
should  be  recommended  for  promotion  to  tenure,  and  Ray  Sontag  was 
chairman  of  that  committee.  We  looked  it  over,  his  record-- 

Lage:    Were  you  on  the  committee? 
Stampp:   I  was  on  the  committee. 
Lage:    Was  he  a  Europeanist  or--? 

Stampp:   He's  a  European  historian,  yes.   It  was  not  a  strong  case.   Sontag 
was  quite  clear  he  strongly  opposed  giving  him  tenure.   I'm  giving 
you  what  I  think  and  what  is  not  necessarily  true--I  always 
suspected  that  Griffiths'  behavior  during  the  Loyalty  Oath  had 
some  impact  on  Sontag 's  feelings  about  Griffiths.   But  I  agreed 
that  it  was  not  a  strong  case,  so  I  sided  with  Sontag  in 
recommending  that  he  not  be  promoted.   At  that  time  —  this  is  sort 
of  hindsight--!  thought  that  Sontag  as  a  European  historian  of 
some  distinction  really  was  able  to  put  aside  his  personal 
feelings  and  judge  Griffiths  on  his  record.   Perhaps  he  did. 

Lage:    Well,  you  judged  it  the  same  way,  in  looking  at  his  record. 

Stampp:   Right.   So  he  was  not  promoted,  and  Griffiths  left—maybe  he  had 
another  year- -but  he  left  '53,  '54,  and  got  a  job  at  the 
University  of  Washington  at  Seattle.  We  had  been  pretty  good 
friends,  especially  during  the  oath  controversy. 

Lage:    It  must  be  hard  to  sit  in  on  these  tenure  decisions,  with  people 
who  are  friends. 

Stampp:   It  is.   Yes,  I  know,  it  is. 


Recruiting  and  Promoting  in  the  History  Department:  Turning  Points 

William  J.  Bouwsma,  Armin  Rappaport 

Stampp:   Then  I  think  it  was  a  question  of  replacement  for  Gordon 
Griffiths.   I'm  moving  ahead  now-- 

Lage:    That's  fine. 

Stampp:   --into  the  fifties.  Now  we  get  to  a  controversy  in  the  department 
that  in  my  opinion  determined  what  was  going  to  happen  in  the 
department,  what  kind  of  a  department  it  would  be.   The  question 
was  a  replacement  for  Griffiths,  but  it  was  not  in  his  field. 
Griffiths  was  in  modern  European  history,  but  we  were  looking  for 
someone  in  Renaissance-Reformation-Medieval  history. 

I  can't  remember  who  it  was  to  replace,  whether  it  was 
Kantorowicz  or—well,  the  slot  was  there  because  Griffiths  was 
leaving.   Some  time  in  '53  or  early  '54,  I  had  a  letter  from  two 
friends  of  mine  who  were  teaching  at  the  University  of  Illinois. 
Dick  Current  had  left  Mills  College  and  had  gone  to  the  University 
of  Illinois,  and  Frank  Freidel,  who  had  been  teaching  at  Penn 
State  for  some  years,  was  also  at  the  University  of  Illinois,  so  I 
had  two  good  friends  in  the  department  there.   I  had  letters  from 
both  of  them  about  a  young  historian  named  William  J.  Bouwsma,  a 
Harvard  Ph.D.  who  was  in  Renaissance  and  Reformation,  and  a 
European  intellectual  historian.   Both  of  them  told  me  that  he  was 
first-rate  as  a  teacher  and  scholar. 

I  don't  know  why  they  both  were  thinking  that  they  ought  to 
help  him  get  a  job  somewhere  else.  Maybe  it  was  that  Medieval 
studies  and  Renaissance-Reformation  studies  weren't  going  very 
well  at  Illinois. 

Anyway--!  should  back  up  a  bit.  One  of  the  men  who  was 
bitterly  opposed  to,  or  to  put  it  the  other  way,  was  a  strong 
supporter  of  Griffiths,  was  John  D.  Hicks.  Hicks  knew  Gordon's 
family,  and  I  think  Hicks  always  felt  that  if  you  appoint  a  man 
assistant  professor,  he  just  automatically  goes  up,  and  he  didn't 
want  to  refuse  to  promote  Gordon  Griffiths.   In  any  case,  Hicks 
was  very  strongly  opposed  to  the  report  of  the  committee 
recommending  nonpromotion. 

In  1954,  there  was  a  convention  of  what  was  still  then  the 
Mississippi  Valley  Historical  Association  in  Madison,  and  I  was 
there,  and  Henry  May  and  Carl  Bridenbaugh  were  there,  and  Dick 
Current  and  Frank  Freidel  were  there.  We  had  authority  from  the 


department-- Jim  King  was  chairman  of  the  department  at  that  time. 
I  was  vice  chairman.   I  was  vice  chairman  over  and  over  again 
[1949-1951,  1954-1956,  1958-1959,  1962-1964]. 

Lage:     [laughs]  And  never  chairman. 

Stampp:   I  didn't  want  to  be.   I  was  chairman  for  one  year;  I'll  come  to 
that  later  on,  but  vice  chairman  was  very  nice.   I  could  put  my 
nose  into  anything  I  wanted  to  and  never  had  any  responsibilities. 
Like  vice  president,  almost.   [laughter] 

Anyway,  we  were  authorized  to  talk  to  Bill.   Bill  Bouwsma 
came  up  from  Illinois  to  talk  to  the  Berkeley  people  who  were  at 
the  convention. 

Lage:    You're  all  Americanists,  and  he's  European—but  maybe  that  doesn't 

Stampp:   That's  right,  but  we  were  there.   It  was  not  yet  the  time  to 

invite  Bill  Bouwsma  out  to  give  a  lecture  here.   I  remember  being 
very  much  impressed  with  Bill.  Actually,  I  had  met  Bill 
previously  when  I  came  home  from  a  sabbatical  in  1953.   I  stopped 
in  Champaign-Urbana  to  see  Dick  and  Frank,  and  we  were  at  a  dinner 
party  with  Bill  and  Beverly  Bouwsma.   I  remember  that  Bill  was 
also  interviewed  by  John  Hicks  in  Madison,  and  this  must  have  been 
the  year  that  Griffiths  was  still  there.  The  decision  had  been 
made,  but  he  would  not  leave  until  the  following  fall. 

I  remember  Hicks  saying  to  Bouwsma,  "I  don't  know  what 
they're  talking  about;  there's  no  job  at  Berkeley  in  your  field." 
That  was  his  contribution  to  this.  He  did  not  want  Bill  Bouwsma 
to  come,  but  I  think  only  because  of  Gordon  Griffiths. 

So  Bridenbaugh  came  back  and  made  a  very  good  report  on  Bill 
from  our  talking  to  him,  and  I  and  others  by  this  time  had  read 
the  manuscript  of  his  dissertation  and  were  very  much  impressed. 

Then  it  became  clear  that  Raymond  J.  Sontag  was  going  to  be  a 
bitter  opponent  of  bringing  Bill  Bouwsma.   Bill  had  a  special 
interest  in  the  Renaissance  and  Reformation,  in  religious  history. 
He  taught  a  course  at  the  University  of  Illinois  in  the  history  of 
Christianity.   Bill  Bouwsma  was  a  Dutch  Calvinist.  Again,  I'm 
thinking  of  motives  that  I  can't  prove--!  am  only  guessing.   I 
think  Ray  Sontag  was  determined  that  no  Dutch  Calvinist  was  going 
to  teach  a  course  in  the  history  of  Christianity  at  the  University 
of  California  at  Berkeley  as  long  as  he  was  here.   I  can't  think 
of  any  other  valid  reason,  though  others  were  given. 


Stampp : 


Stampp : 


And  what  reason  would  Sontag  have  put  forth?  He  evidently  didn't 
put  that  forward. 

Well,  I'll  get  to  that.  First  off,  there  was  a  prejudice  against 
intellectual  history.   I  remember  one  member  of  the  department--! 
think  I'm  not  going  to  name  names  here—one  member  of  the 
department  saying,  after  reading  Bill's  dissertation,  "This  isn't 
history,  it's  philosophy." 

By  and  large,  the  old  guard  was  opposed  to  bringing  Bill  in. 
The  first  argument  that  was  raised  against  his  coming  was,  "He's  a 
European  historian,  and  he's  never  been  to  Europe,"  and  that 
seemed  to  me  a  thing  that  was  fairly  easy  to  remedy.   He  didn't 
have  to  go  to  Europe  to  write  his  dissertation;  it  was  based  on 
published  sources.   Bill  didn't  have  the  money  to  go  to  Europe  and 
had  no  grant  yet.   In  any  case,  that  seemed  a  pretty  poor 
argument . 

Well,  we  invited  Gene  Brucker  to  come  in  for  the  year,  I 
believe  it  was  '54- '55.  You'll  have  to  check  the  dates.   Gene  had 
just  got  his  degree  at  Princeton  in  Medieval  history.   Gene 
arrived  here,  and  we  were  all  impressed  with  him.   So  Sontag  now 
had  a  second  argument:  "We  have  Gene  Brucker  here,  we  can't  use 
Bouwsma."   I  talked  to  Gene  and  said,  "Gene,  if  Bill  Bouwsma  were 
here,  would  this  compromise  you?  Would  that  mean  that  you  two 
overlap?"   Gene  said,  "Not  at  all.   He's  Renaissance  and 
Reformation.   I'm  back  in  the  thirteenth  and  fourteenth 
centuries."   Gene  didn't  think  there  was  any  overlap. 

I  went  back  with  that  and  said--I  can't  remember  the 
argument,  but  finally,  there  was  a  vote. 

Would  this  have  been  a  vote  of  the  department,  or  just  the 

No,  this  was  the  tenure  committee.   Finally  there  was  a  vote,  and 
we  lost.   The  ones  who  really  worked  hard  to  bring  Bill  in  were 
Carl  Bridenbaugh,  Henry  May,  Delmer  Brown,  George  Guttridge,  Paul 
Schaeffer,  and  I.   There  were  six  of  us,  as  I  recall.   I  may  have 
missed  a  name,  but  those  were  the  ones.   I  remember  there  were 
seven  or  eight  against  bringing  him  in,  so  we  lost.   I  remember 
one  saying,  "Well,  in  a  department  this  divided,  I'm  going  to  vote 
against  it  simply  because  we're  divided." 

There  weren't  two  people  you  were  considering? 
weighing  Bouwsma  against  another  person? 

You  weren't 

There  was  another  possible  candidate  in  a  different  field,  but  as 
I  recall,  we  weren't  weighing  Bill  against  anybody.  No,  it  wasn't 



that  there  was  some  other  strong  candidate  in  Bill's  field.   I 
think  Sontag  was  very  instrumental  in  bringing  Gene  here,  because 
Sontag  had  been  at  Princeton,  had  taught  at  Princeton  before  he 
came  here,  and  he  had  a  lot  of  contact  with  Princeton.   I  think  he 
went  looking  for  somebody  to  bring  in  instead  of  Bill  Bouwsma. 

Anyway,  the  vote  was  taken.   Jim  King  was  chairman,  but  his 
term  was  about  to  end.   George  Guttridge  was  going  to  become  the 
new  chairman,  and  George  wanted  Bill  Bouwsma,  so  the  case  went  to 
the  dean.   Lincoln  Constance  was  the  dean.  Lincoln  sympathized 
with  us,  the  ones  who  had  lost.   I  remember  Guttridge  was  on  the 
phone  to  Lincoln  Constance,  the  dean,  and  he  sort  of  delegated  me 
as  vice  chairman  to  go  to  talk  to  him. 


When  I  saw  the  dean,  he  said,  "I  just  can't  act  against  the 
majority  in  the  department."   I  said,  "Lincoln,  if  I  can  persuade 
Bill  Bouwsma  to  come  here  for  a  year  as  a  visiting  professor, 
would  you  support  it?"  He  said,  "Yes,  I  can  do  that,  for  one 

year.   The  chairman  would  want  it,  and  who  can  oppose  that? 
just  coming  to  be  looked  over." 


This  was  June.   Bill  was  teaching  summer  session  at  the 
University  of  Indiana.   I  got  on  the  telephone  to  Bill,  and  I  had 
no  idea  whether  Bill  would  do  this  or  just  tell  us  to  go  to  hell. 
I  said  to  him,  "Bill,  the  dean  has  approved  you  coming  to  Berkeley 
for  a  year  as  a  visitor." 

Lage:    He  knew  the  situation. 

Stampp:   Oh,  yes,  he  knew—well,  at  least  he  did  know  that  Sontag  was 

opposed.   And  to  my  surprise  and  pleasure,  he  said,  "I'll  come." 

So  he  came,  and  I  believe  this  is  the  year  "55- '56. 
Lage:    We  can  check.   [It  appears  to  be  '56-'57.] 

Stampp:   Yes.   Bill  came  as  a  visitor  for  one  year,  and  he  did  very  well. 
He  gave  a  public  lecture  that  was  first-rate.  By  the  end  of  the 
year,  the  case  against  Bill  had  really  collapsed.   But  there  was 
still  the  problem  of  dealing  with  the  people  who  were  opposed  to 

The  matter  was  complicated  by  the  fact  that  Armin  Rappaport 
had  been  up  for  promotion  to  tenure. 

Lage:    Now,  what  was  his  field? 


Stampp:  Armin  Rappaport  was  a  Ph.D.  from  Stanford  in  American  diplomatic 

history.  He  came,  as  I  recall,  in  1948  or  '49.  He  was  a  wow  as  a 
lecturer- -he  was  a  showman,  but  not  much  of  a  scholar.  We  looked 
over  what  he  had  written  and  did  not  think  that  he  showed  much 
promise.  The  first  time,  we  decided  not  to  promote  him. 

Lage:    Would  this  have  been  an  ad-hoc  committee  to  look  at  his  record? 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  was  on  that  committee  too,  and  I  can't  remember  who  else 

was  on  it,  but  in  any  case,  we  decided  not  to  recommend  promotion. 
Well,  he  had  lots  of  friends  in  the  department- -John  Hicks,  Ray 
Sontag.   The  Bolton  contingent  all  were  gung-ho  for  the  promotion 
of  Rappaport,  and  the  two  issues  got  mixed  up. 

I  remember  talking  to  a  Boltonite  about  Bouwsma  and  the 
record  he  had  made,  and  he  said,  "Well,  the  only  thing  I'm 
interested  in  is  what's  going  to  happen  to  Rappaport."  In  other 
words,  he  was  saying,  "You  support  Rappaport,  I'll  acquiesce  in 
Bouwsma."  The  Bouwsma  supporters  sort  of  talked  this  over  and 
said,  "Is  this  the  price  we  have  to  pay?" 

Lage:    Was  it  clear  that  Rappaport  was  not  a  good  scholar? 

Stampp:   I  think  so,  and  he  certainly  proved  it  for  the  rest  of  his  career. 
His  promotion  came  up  at  a  tenure  committee  meeting,  and  some  of 
us  just  shut  up,  and  it  went  through. 

Lage:     So  you  made  a  decision-- 

Stampp:   I  hate  to  put  it  this  way,  but  we  made  a  deal—if  you  want 

Rappaport--.   So  he  got  promoted  to  tenure.   Then  I  think  it  was  a 
couple  of  weeks  later  when  the  Bouwsma  issue  came  up,  and  what 
happened  was  that  Sontag  just  didn't  come  to  the  meeting,  and  a 
number  of  others  just  didn't  come.   One  or  two  may  have  been 
there,  and  they  simply  abstained.  The  result  is  that  whoever  was 
left  voted  for  Bouwsma,  and  it  was  unanimous.   So  Bill  got  an 
appointment  at  Berkeley.   I  think  he  began  his  permanent 
appointment  in  1956  or  1957. 

Lage:    The  other  people  who  opposed  Bill  Bouwsma,  what  reasons  did  they 
have,  or  did  they  just  fall  in  line  behind  Sontag? 

Stampp:  Well,  he  hadn't  gone  to  Europe,  that  was  one  argument. 
Lage:     [laughing]  But  nobody  else  did. 

Stampp:   Yes.   This  wasn't  history,  this  was  philosophy- -that  was  another 
thing.   Perhaps  that  was  evidence  of  opposition  to  intellectual 







history.   Then  we  have  Brucker  and  we  don't  need  Bouwsma,  that 
sort  of  thing.   I  mean,  it  was  all  flimsy  stuff. 

So  Bill  Bouwsma  came,  and  that  really  was  the  breakthrough, 
With  Bill's  coming  and  Gene  Brucker  here,  this  department  went 
through  a  transformation  in  the  next  few  years.   That's  when  we 
brought  in  lot  of  bright  young  historians. 

Those  were  the  years  when  the  university  had  a  good  budget, 


Yes,  the  state  was  prospering,  we  had  a  liberal  legislature,  a 
friend  in  the  governor,  and  a  president  who  was  close  to  the 
governor.   Let's  see--Earl  Warren  had  left  by  this  time;  he  was 
chief  justice. 

[Goodwin]  Knight  replaced  him. 

Yes,  and  to  our  surprise,  he  turned  out  to  be  not  as  bad  as  we 
thought  he  would  be.   He  was  okay  for  the  university.   So  things 
were  going  fine. 

And  Pat  Brown  was  a  good  supporter  of  the  university. 

Yes.   Then  there  were  lots  of  retirements—Palm  retired,  and  not 
long  afterwards,  Paul  Schaeffer  retired,  and  Kerner  retired,  and 
Van  Nostrand  retired;  Lawrence  Kinnaird  was  another  who  retired  in 
these  years.   So  we  had  all  kinds  of  openings,  and  that's  when  we 
really  began  to  build  a  history  department  here.   I  can't  name  all 
of  them,  but  it's  when  we  brought  in  David  Landes  and  Charlie 
Sellers,  who  was  a  very  promising  young  political  historian  at 
that  time,  Tom  Kuhn  in  history  of  science,  Martin  Malia  in  Russian 
history,  but  also  he  taught  a  course  in  European  intellectual 
history,  Nick  Riasanovsky,  and  near  the  end  of  the  decade  Hans 
Rosenberg,  and  Dick  Herr,  and  Carl  Schorske,  and  Adrienne  Koch. 

That's  the  only  woman  you've  mentioned. 

That's  the  only  woman,  that's  right. 

We'll  have  to  talk  about  that  at  some  point. 

We'll  have  to  talk  about  that,  because  that's  an  interesting  story 

Now,  when  we  talked  earlier,  I  asked  you—this  was  before  we  were 
taping  —  if  you  thought  there  was  a  turning  point  in  the 
department.   You  mentioned  1950. 


Stampp:  Well,  that  was  a  time  of  bitter-- 

Lage:  You  said  Carl  Bridenbaugh-- 

Stampp:  Oh,  yes. 

Lage:  --and  Joe  Levenson. 

Stampp:   Oh,  yes.   Let's  go  back.  Thank  you  for  reminding  me.   The  real 
turning  point,  though,  was  bringing  in  Bill. 

Lage:    Was  it  apparent  on  the  face  of  things  that  Bouwsma  was  a  really 
first-rate  scholar? 

Stampp:   Oh,  1  think  so.   Yes. 

Lage:    Is  that  why  you  say  it  made  such  a  difference? 

Stampp:   It  did,  but  somehow,  the  retirements  meant  a  change  in  the 

department.   It  opened  the  way  for  bringing  in  a  lot  of  people.   I 
think  Bouwsma  was  the  first  step.   Perhaps  I  should  say  that 
Bouwsma  and  Brucker  were  the  first  steps,  along  with  the  promotion 
of  Levenson  and  Brentano  to  tenure. 

Joseph  Levenson 

Lage:    Back  to  1950. 

Stampp:   Back  to  1950.  And  this  brings  us  back  to  Ray  Sontag  again. 

Lage:    He  sounds  like  he  was  quite  a  powerful  figure,  Ray  Sontag. 

Stampp:   He  was  a  very  powerful  figure.   He  had  a  lot  of  influence  in  the 
administration,  and  he  didn't  hesitate  to  use  it. 

Joe  Levenson  was  supported  for  an  appointment  in  Chinese 
history  by  Woodbridge  Bingham.  Woodbridge  Bingham  was  a  Berkeley 
Ph.D. --incidentally,  this  department  was  full  of  Berkeley  Ph.D.'s. 

Lage:    Then  or  now? 

Stampp:   It  was  then,  yes.   Full  of  them. 

Stampp:   Woodbridge  Bingham  was  in  Chinese  history  and  wanted  another 

person,  especially  in  modern  Chinese  history.   He  came  up  with  the 
name  of  Joe  Levenson,  who  had  just  finished  a  Ph.D.  at  Harvard, 


had  been  a  member  of  the  Society  of  Fellows  and  a  student  of 
Fairbanks  at  Harvard.  You've  got  to  remember  the  context.   The 
Communists  had  just  taken  over  China. 

Lage:    Right,  this  was  a  hot  issue. 

Stampp:  And  Fairbanks  was  certainly  not  a  sympathizer  of  the  Chiang  Kai- 
Shek  government. 

Lage:    Was  he  a  sympathizer  of  the  Mao  contingent? 

Stampp:   Well,  he  was  not  a  Maoist,  he  was  not  a  Communist;  I  think  he  just 
knew  that  this  was  something  that  was  going  to  happen. 

Anyway,  the  name  of  Levenson  came  up,  and  I  suspect  at  the 
time,  in  1950,  there  was  a  certain  amount  of  anti-Semitism.   With 
the  departure  of  Kantorowicz,  there  was  no  Jew  in  the  department. 
Well,  Armin  Rappaport  was  Jewish,  but  somehow,  he  didn't  count  as 
a  Jew,  because  he  wasn't  a  Jew--he  was  a  Jew  without  being  the 
least  bit  interested  in  Jewish  culture,  and  Joe  Levenson  was. 
Sontag's  line  was,  "You  know,  the  Communists  have  taken  over  in 
China,  and  here's  Fairbanks  who  is  rather  suspect  as  far  as  his 
views  are  concerned.   We  ought  to  wait  until  the  dust  settles." 

Lage:    Not  make  an  appointment. 

Stampp:   Not  make  an  appointment.  Well,  Woodbridge  Bingham  really  made  a 
contribution.   Woodbridge  was  not  one  of  the  great  scholars  of 
this  department,  but  he  really  fought  for  Joe  Levenson 
passionately,  and  he  got  the  appointment.   Joe  was  one  of  the 
really  brilliant  minds  in  this  department  until  his  untimely 

Lage:    You  say  anti-Semitism  might  have  been  involved. 

Stampp:   Yes,  I  think  so.   I'm  not  going  to  name  names,  but  I  can  think  of 
a  couple  of  people  in  the  department  that-- 

Lage:    Who  would  mention  it  up  front? 

Stampp:   Not  up  front,  no.   They  wouldn't  go  to  the  department  and  say, 
"He's  a  Jew,"  but  that's  what  they  said  elsewhere. 

Jews  had  a  hard  time  back  in  the  twenties  and  thirties  in 
getting  appointments.   I  remember  Hans  Rosenberg  who  came  here  was 
a  Jewish  refugee.   He  left  Germany  in  about  '33  or  '34,  and  for 
years  taught  at  Brooklyn  College.   He  taught  for  a  little  while  in 
a  little  college  in  Illinois,  then  taught  for  years  at  Brooklyn 
College  and  trained  some  very  good  scholars.   He  told  me  after  he 


came  to  Berkeley—he  came  in  1960--that  he  was  once  interviewed 
for  a  job  at  the  University  of  Iowa,  didn't  get  it.   The  dean  at 
the  university  said,  "You  know,  if  we  hire  you,  you'll  be  the 
first  Jew  that  we've  hired  at  Iowa."  Before  the  war  there  was 
prejudice  everywhere—my  department  at  Wisconsin  was  full  of  anti- 
Semitism.   So  was  Harvard. 

Lage:    There  were  quotas  in  admissions. 

Stampp:   Yes,  you  know  about  those  quotas  in  various  places.   I  seem  to 

remember  somebody  saying,  "If  we  took  all  the  Jews  that  applied, 
we'd  have  nothing  but  Jews."  After  the  war,  prejudice  broke  down, 
and  in  the  late  fifties  a  substantial  number  of  the  new  people 
were  Jews- -Tom  Kuhn,  David  Landes.   Then  of  course  Leon  Litwack 
later  came  in,  and  Larry  Levine,  and  Dick  Abrams,  and  Sam  Haber, 
and  so  on. 

Lage:    But  Levenson  was  one  of  the  first  Jews  to  come  to  Berkeley  in 

Stampp:   Yes.   As  a  matter  of  fact,  I  was  just  talking  to  my  daughter, 

who's  a  professor  of  psychology  out  at  St.  Mary's  College.   She 
said,  "You  know,  by  this  time,  you  can  almost  measure  the  quality 
of  a  department  by  the  number  of  Jews  in  it,"  because  they  have 
come,  in  proportion  to  population,  in  much  higher  numbers  into 
academic  life,  and  that  was  certainly  true  here. 

Lage:    How  was  Levenson  accepted  socially,  in  the  department? 

Stampp:  Very  well.  I  mean,  Joe  was  so  charming  and  so  brilliant,  he  was  a 
joy  to  have  around,  and  such  a  really  decent  human  being. 

Lage:    Did  politics,  the  Chinese  situation,  kind  of  haunt  him? 

Stampp:  That  didn't  bother  him.  Joe  was  a  Chinese  intellectual  historian, 
he  was  interested  in  Confucianism  and  Confucianist  tradition.  Joe 
was  simply  not  involved. 

Lage:    Would  Sontag--did  he  accept  him,  do  you  think? 

Stampp:   Sontag  certainly  recognized  the  brilliance  of  the  man.   Joe  was 

charming  and  modest  in  his  dealings  with  other  people.   There  was 
never  a  touch  of  arrogance  in  him.   He  had  every  reason  to  be 
arrogant,  because  he  was  one  of  the  most  brilliant  people  in  this 
department,  no  question  about  it.   So  yes,  that  was  important. 


Carl  Bridenbaugh 

Stampp:   Now,  Carl  Bridenbaugh. 
Lage:    Right. 

Stampp:   This  will  give  you  some  idea  of  how  this  department  used  to  work 
in  the  bad  old  days.   The  department  was  divided  between 
chairholders  and  nonchairholders .   I  mean,  you  could  be  an 
assistant  professor,  associate  professor,  professor,  but  above 
them  were  the  chairholders.   These  were  the  gods  of  the 
department,  and  they  were  recognized  as  such  even  by  Sproul.   The 
chairholders  when  I  came  were  John  Hicks;  Paxson  retired  I  think  a 
year  after  1  came;  Ray  Sontag;  Kerner.   They  were  looking  for  a 
replacement  for  Paxson  when  he  retired. 

The  first  person  they  brought  in  was  Dixon  Wecter,  who  as  I 
recall  came  in  the  fall  of  1949.  They  tried  Merle  Curti  and 
Curti--!  mentioned  that  before—turned  them  down.  Dixon  Wecter 
was  in  southern  California  at  the  time,  and  a  good  scholar. 

Lage:    At  UCLA? 

Stampp:   I  can't  remember  where  he  was.   He  could  have  been  at  the 

Huntington  for  all  I  know,  but  I  don't  think  he  had  an  academic 
connection  at  that  time.   He  was  a  good  social  historian  for  his 
day,  and  a  very  gracious  member  of  the  department.   In  June  of 
1950,  he  and  his  wife  went  to  Sacramento,  and  he  was  to  deliver  a 
public  lecture  there,  to  whom  I  don't  remember.   On  a  Sunday 
morning,  we  got  word  that  Wecter  had  died.   He  died  of  a  heart 
attack  suddenly.   He  and  his  wife  were  in  their  hotel  room,  and  he 
got  into  bed,  and  she  was  in  the  bathroom,  came  out  and  found  her 
husband  dead. 

Lage:    Oh,  my. 

Stampp:  At  that  time,  the  dean  of  the  graduate  division  was  William 
Dennes,  a  professor  of  philosophy.   He  and  I  drove  up  to 
Sacramento,  really  to  bring  his  research  assistant  back,  a  young 
woman,  a  graduate  student.  We  picked  her  up  and  took  her  back 
from  Sacramento.   His  wife  stayed  on. 

So  this  is  June,  summer  is  here,  and  we  need  a  replacement 
for  Dixon  Wecter.   So  how  did  it  happen?  The  chairholders  got 
together,  and  some  later  rued  the  day,  but  they  decided  that  Carl 
Bridenbaugh  would  be  a  good  candidate.   I'll  tell  you  who  he  is  in 
a  minute. 


Stampp : 



Ray  Sontag  came  into  my  office  one  day  in  the  summer  and 
said,  "What  would  you  think  of  Carl  Bridenbaugh  as  a  replacement?" 
There  was  never  a  meeting  of  the  department  about  this.   I  said, 
"Well,  all  I  know  about  him—he's  a  good  social  historian.   He 
writes  a  lot.   I  don't  know  him  personally,  but  yes,  he  sounds 
good."  So  in  September,  Carl  Bridenbaugh  was  here,  without  any 
departmental  action.   I  mean,  it  was  the  chairholders,  Hicks  and 
Sontag  especially,  who  decided  to  bring  Carl  Bridenbaugh  to 

Bridenbaugh  came  from  one  of  those  old  German  families  that 
came  to  America  way  back  to  the  eighteenth  century.   He  grew  up  in 
Philadelphia.   He  went  to  Dartmouth  as  an  undergrad,  he  was  a 
Ph.D.  at  Harvard  and  loved  Harvard,  and  wanted  desperately  to  go 
back  to  Harvard  one  day.   The  disappointment  of  his  life  was  that 
he  never  did.   He  taught  at  Brown  University  for  some  years,  and 
then  at  the  time  that  he  was  brought  here,  he  was  at  the  Institute 
at  Colonial  Williamsburg.   He  was  a  colonialist  in  social  history, 
and  he  wrote  a  lot  of  books  about  the  revolutionary  period  and  the 
earlier  period  about  social  life  in  colonial  America.   That 
summer,  he  was  teaching  summer  school  at  the  University  of 
Minnesota,  and  they  called  him,  and  he  agreed  to  come. 

But  just  as  a  professor,  not  as  a  chair? 

As  a  chair.   Oh,  yes.   He  was  to  be  the  [Margaret]  Byrne  Professor 
of  American  History,  in  place  of  Dixon  Wecter. 

That  is  a  quick  decision  for  such  an  important  position. 

Yes.   It  was  Paxson's  chair,  the  [Margaret]  Byrne  Professorship; 
then  it  became  Dixon  Wecter 's,  and  then  in  1950,  Carl  Bridenbaugh 
became  the  [Margaret]  Byrne  Professor  of  American  History.   John 
Hicks  was  the  Morrison  Professor  of  American  History. 

Well,  Bridenbaugh  came  and  turned  out  to  be  a  tartar.   He  was 
a  man  utterly  lacking  in  tact  or  grace. 

Did  anybody  know  him  personally? 

I  don't  think  anybody  knew  him  personally  when  he  came.  He  was  a 
good  scholar.  At  one  committee  meeting—must  have  been  a  meeting 
of  full  professors—Bridenbaugh  said  to  these  men--Sontag,  Hicks, 
Van  Nostrand,  Palm,  Kerner--"This  department  has  a  bad  reputation 
in  the  East  as  one  of  the  worst  history  departments  in  a  major 
university."  [laughter]  How  to  win  friends. 

Lage:    These  are  the  men  who  brought  him,  basically! 


Stampp :   That ' s  right .   Bridenbaugh  was  determined  that  this  department  was 
going  to  be  first-rate.  His  ego  was  obviously  wrapped  up  in  it. 
We  all  wanted  that;  well,  some  of  us  wanted  to  have  a  good 
department,  and  I  suppose  our  egos  were  wrapped  up  in  it  some,  but 
we  wanted  a  better  department  in  any  case. 

Lage:    I'm  surprised  he  came  out  here,  with  that  opinion  of  the 
department . 

Stampp:   It  was  a  good  job.   It  was  a  chair,  and  a  full  professorship,  and 
a  good  salary,  and  he  was  coming  in  at  the  top.  He  had  a  second 
marriage  by  that  time.  He  had  been  married  to  a  woman  who  was  an 
historian,  and  they  did  a  lot  of  collaborating  in  writing.   He  was 
now  married  to  a  woman  who  was  not  a  historian  named  Roberta,  and 
a  very  nice  lady  indeed. 

Carl  succeeded  very  soon  in  rubbing  an  awful  lot  of  people 
the  wrong  way,  but  his  goal  was  to  make  this  absolutely  a  first- 
rate  department.   It  was  going  to  be  a  department  to  rival  the 
Harvard  history  department,  so  I  don't  suppose  anyone  worked 
harder  than  Carl  Bridenbaugh  did  to  find  good  people  and  bring 
them  in.   He  was  one  of  the  passionate  supporters  of  Bill  Bouwsma, 
for  example,  and  I  suppose  it  didn't  hurt  that  Bill  was  a  Harvard 
man.   [laughter] 

I  got  to  know  him  fairly  soon,  and  I  got  along  with  him  for  a 
long  time,  or  in  fact  through  the  whole  fifties,  because,  though  I 
was  not  as  passionate  about  it,  I  did  want  to  have  a  better 
department,  so  we  were  nearly  always  working  together.  We  got 
along  socially  as  well.   You  had  to  take  a  few  things  from  him. 
He  wasn't  very  tactful.   I  liked  talking  to  him,  and  when  you  were 
with  him  one  on  one,  and  you  stayed  away  from  a  few  subjects,  he 
was  a  good  conversationalist. 

Carl  was  very  sensitive  about  his  brand  of  social  history. 
It  was  rather  old-fashioned  social  history.   Somebody  once  called 
it  pots-and-pans  social  history.  He  probably  felt  that  emerging 
American  intellectual  history  was  in  some  way  a  negative 
commentary  on  his  kind  of  history. 

Lage:    What  do  you  mean  by  pots  and  pans? 

Stampp:   Well,  the  kind  of  social  history  where  you  talk  about  things  like 
baseball  and  recr'eation--it  was  not  analytical  social  history. 

Lage:    More  descriptive, 


Stampp:  It  was  descriptive,  yes,  and  I  suppose  some  people  thought  that 
Bridenbaugh's  history  was  rather  old-fashioned,  some  mod  social 
historians.  Every  generation  has— 

Lage:    Their  new  approach. 

Stampp:   --the  young  Turks,  and  sooner  or  later,  you  get  to  find  yourself 
on  the  other  side.   [laughs] 

In  any  case,  it  became  evident  before  the  end  of  the  1950s 
that  Bridenbaugh  was  very  sensitive  about  this—that  people  didn't 
have  much  respect  for  the  kind  of  history  he  was  teaching.   I 
remember  one  occasion  when  there  was  a  dinner  party  at  Carl 
Bridenbaugh's  house,  and  there  were  three  other  couples—the 
Bouwsmas,  the  Browns,  and  the  Stampps.   Those  three  couples  and 
the  Bridenbaughs  were  very  close.   There  were  eight  of  us  there 
that  night.  We  had  cocktails  beforehand  and  a  lot  of  wine,  and 
Carl  was  in  his  cups.  After  dinner,  for  some  reason,  he  took  Bill 
Bouwsma,  Delmer  Brown,  and  me  to  his  study  downstairs. 

The  next  thing  we  knew,  and  I  don't  really  remember  how  it 
started,  he  was  on  a  tirade  about  his  kind  of  history  not  being 
appreciated  here.   We  were  just  dumbfounded--!  mean,  we  just  sat 
or  stood  listening  to  him  sounding  off.   I  knew,  and  I  suppose 
they  knew,  too,  that  he  had  some  of  these  feelings,  but  not  to  the 
intense  degree  that  they  were  being  expressed  there. 

Lage:    It  was  kind  of  ironic  that  he  was  working  so  hard  to  get  the  top 
people,  at  the  same  time  some  people  were  casting  aspersions  on 
his  own  character. 

Stampp:   Yes.  Well,  they  weren't  criticizing  his  history,  though.   I  don't 
remember  anyone  here— at  least  anyone  who  spoke  to  me  about  it. 

Bridenbaugh  in  no  time  had  made  an  enemy  of  Sontag,  and  he 
had  made  an  enemy  of  John  D.  Hicks.  They  both  rued  the  day  that 
they  ever  thought  of  bringing  him  here.   He  turned  off  a  few  of 
the  younger  people,  but  most  of  them  had  to  admire  the  man's 
ability,  and  if  his  social  history  was  old-fashioned,  it  was  still 
good  history  of  its  kind.   He  taught  well  here  and  had  some  good 
graduate  students,  and  certainly  nobody  could  accuse  him  of  not 
being  interested  in  the  future  of  the  department  and  not  doing  his 
share  in  helping  to  build  it. 

Lage:    He  was  never  chair,  was  he? 

Stampp:   Oh,  no.   He  could  never  have  been  [laughter]  a  chairman  of  the 
department.   No,  he  was  much  too  contentious  and  much  too 
outspoken  and  much  too  tactless  for  that. 


Well,  I  don't  know  how  much  more  you  want  me  to  say  about  the 
building  of  the  department  in  the  fifties.  You  can  see  from  the 
records  who  came  in.  We  were  really  bringing  in  some  very  able 

Lage:    Did  procedures  change,  were  hiring  procedures  more  formal? 

Stampp:   Oh,  I  should  say  so.   For  one  thing,  in  the  fifties,  the 

chairholders  ceased  to  be  the  lords  of  creation  around  here. 
There  were  tenure  committee  meetings— 

Lage:    What  is  the  tenure  committee? 

Stampp:   The  tenure  committee  included  those  who  had  tenure,  the  associate 
and  full  professors,  including  the  chairholders. 

Lage:     It's  not  the  ones  who  decided  on  tenure. 

Stampp:   The  chairholders,  certainly  by  the  mid-f  if  ties  —  and  I  give  Carl 
Bridenbaugh  at  least  part  of  the  credit—were  simply  full 
professors  in  the  department.   They  had  a  vote  in  the  tenure 
committee,  as  did  the  youngest,  newest  associate  professor,  about 
bringing  people  in.   So  the  whole  idea  that  chairholders  were  a 
group  apart  collapsed  in  the  1950s.   I  never  felt  that  way,  Carl 
Bridenbaugh  never  felt  that  way,  Henry  May  when  he  got  his  chair 
never  felt  that  way,  nor  did  later  chairholders. 

Graduate  Students,  and  Women  in  the  History  Department  ## 

Lage:    I  would  like  to  hear  about  students  and  women  and  curriculum. 

Stampp:   We  had  lots  of  controversies  — this  is  an  endless  thing—over  the 
graduate  program,  how  broad  it  should  be,  and  what  kind  of  exams 
we  should  have— this  is  an  ever-changing  thing.   I  guess  there  is 
no  such  thing  as  the  perfect  graduate  program,  but  our  program 
changed  in  the  fifties,  the  size  of  fields  and  that  sort  of  thing. 

Lage:    Did  you  carry  forth  your  experience  at  Wisconsin? 

Stampp:   Well,  I  hoped  that  there  would  never  be  anything  like  that  at  this 
institution,  and  there  never  was. 

I  would  say  that  the  quality  of  our  graduate  students  went  up 
very  considerably,  generally  speaking,  with  some  exceptions.   The 
young  historians  we  recruited  began  attracting  good  graduate 


students.   I  had,  on  the  average,  much  better  graduate  students  by 
the  end  of  the  fifties  than  I  had  had  when  I  first  came  out  here. 

Lage:    Were  a  lot  of  them  veterans? 

Stampp:   Yes.   [counts]  When  I  first  arrived,  quite  a  few  of  them  were 
veterans.   That  was  true  in  the  whole  graduate  school.   The 
veterans,  by  the  way,  certainly  didn't  turn  out  to  be  what  C. 
Wright  Mills  and  our  paranoid  group  in  Maryland  thought  they  would 
be.   They  had  had  enough  of  the  military  for  the  rest  of  their 
lives,  with  few  exceptions.  They  weren't,  at  least  the  graduate 
students  here,  weren't  the  kind  who  were  going  to  American  Legion 
meetings.   They  were  pretty  liberal  people. 

Lage:    And  they  were  older. 

Stampp:   They  were  older—that  was  to  me  one  of  the  nice  things  about  that 
time.   I  had  graduate  students  who  were  just  a  few  years  younger 
than  me,  and  I  liked  that.   I  had  a  kind  of  friendship  and 
companionship  with  them  that  changed  with  the  years. 

Lage:    Were  there  many  women  among  them? 

Stampp:   Among  the  graduate  students? 

Lage:    Do  you  remember  back  then  how  you  regarded  women  students? 

Stampp:   I  had  several  women  graduate  students.   Unfortunately,  for  one 
reason  or  another,  they  didn't  finish.   They  got  an  M.A.  and 
decided  to  leave  and  teach.   One  woman  passed  her  exams  and  was 
teaching  in  Texas  without  a  degree  and  was  going  to  write  a 
dissertation  on  Reconstruction  in  North  Carolina,  but  she  never 
finished.   So  I  had  some  rather  bad  luck  with  women  Ph.D.'s. 

Late  in  my  career,  I  had  two  women  who  actually  got  their 
Ph.D.s,  and  one  teaches  at  Scripps  College  now.   The  other  was  a 
woman  who  got  her  Ph.D.  after  her  children  grew  up.   Her  husband 
was  an  economist  at  Standard  Oil,  so  she  did  some  part-time 
teaching  here.   She  wrote  and  published  two  books,  and  that 
pleased  me  very  much. 

Lage:    But  there  weren't  very  many  women  who  really  actively  pursued  the 

Stampp:  Well,  there  weren't  all  that  many  women  in  graduate  school  here  in 
the  1950s.   There  were  some.   Henry  May  had  one  first-rate  woman 
graduate  student  he  thinks  is  one  of  the  best. 

Do  you  want  to  talk  about  Adrienne  Koch? 


Lage:    Yes. 

Stampp:   Okay.   I  had  met  Adrienne  when  I  taught  at  the  University  of 

Maryland.   I  think  she  got  her  Ph.D.  in  philosophy.   One  of  her 
early  books  was  on  the  philosophy  of  Thomas  Jefferson.   She  was  an 
ardent,  passionate  Jeffersonian  and  despised  Alexander  Hamilton. 
I  remember  her  reading  a  paper  one  time  on  Alexander  Hamilton 
which  I  thought  was  rather  hard  on  him.   [laughter]   But  she  was  a 
passionate  Jeffersonian,  wonderful  teacher,  a  very  good  scholar. 

Adrienne,  when  she  first  came  here,  was  in  political  science. 
I  think  it  was  not  a  job  with  a  promising  future.   She  began 
teaching  in  our  American  studies  program.   She  was  very  good.  My 
son  was  in  her  undergraduate  seminar  and  thought  the  world  of  her. 

Adrienne  was  a  bit  contentious.   She  could  be  quite 
unpleasant  on  occasion.   She  seemed  to  feel  that  every  man—she 
was  the  woman  in  the  department—every  man  in  the  department  was 
her  rival,  and  she  was  going  to  put  him  down  every  time  she  had  a 
chance . 

Lage:    This  is  all  in  the  fifties  also? 

Stampp:   In  the  late  fifties  and  early  sixties,  yes.   The  man  who  really 
crusaded  to  bring  Adrienne  into  the  history  department,  I  must 
say,  was  Henry  May.   He  had  great  respect  for  her  and  her 
scholarship.   She  was  sort  of  in  intellectual  history. 

Lage:     I  think  he  did  that  American  studies  program,  also. 

Stampp:   I'm  not  sure  that  Henry  did.   I  know  Adrienne  was  our 

representative  in  it.   I'm  not  sure.   You  would  have  to  check  on 
that  with  Henry.   I  don't  think  so. 

Adrienne  got  tenure,  and  I'm  a  little  vague  on  this,  but  she 
was  slow  in  getting  promoted  to  full  professor,  and  I  know  she  was 
bitter  about  it. 

Lage:    And  did  she  perceive  it  as  discriminaton  against  her  as  a  woman? 

Stampp:   I'm  not  sure  but  I  don't  think  so.   Some  questions  were  raised 

about  what  she  was  doing- -her  research- -at  the  time.   I  began  to 
realize  that  it  was  a  very  unhealthy  situation  to  have  only  one 
woman,  and  a  very  dynamic  one,  in  the  department.  When  she  left, 
I  remember  saying—and  I  will  say  it  again,  though  it  didn't  sound 
right  at  the  time— I  said,  "I'm  going  to  be  opposed  to  having  just 
one  woman  in  this  department  ever  again.   If  we're  going  to  have 
women  in  the  department,  we're  going  to  have  more  than  one,  and 
not  just  one,  because  that  is  just  a  kind  of  tokenism."  One  woman 


in  the  department  didn't  make  sense,  and  we  had  plenty  of  trouble 
with  Adrienne. 

She  left  finally  because  her  husband  took  a  job  in 
Washington.   I  can't  remember  whether  it  was  the  Brookings 
Institute.   In  any  case,  he  got  a  job  in  Washington,  and  she  left. 
Then  she  taught  at  the  University  of  Maryland. 

Lage:    Who  was  the  next  woman  who  came? 

Stampp:  Well,  there  were  a  number  of  women.  Within  a  few  years,  we  had- -I 
shouldn't  say  a  lot.   They  haven't  still  become  the  majority,  but 
quite  a  few  women  have  received  appointments. 

Lage:    Although  I  did  add  them  up  the  other  day,  and  there  really  didn't 
seem  to  be  that  many  of  them.   I  didn't  bring  my  tally. 

Stampp:   Well,  it's  never  been  just  one,  that's  for  sure.   [laughter]   Some 
who  have  been  here  have  left,  but  I'm  not  going  to  remember  names. 
At  one  time,  we  had  a  woman  in  French  history  who  moved  to  the 
University  of  Pennsylvania.   I'm  not  thinking  now  about  the 
eighties  and  women  who  have  come  in  recently,  because  I  don't 
really  know  them  that  well.   But  we  appointed  Paula  Fass  and 
Natalie  Davis,  and  Diane  Clemens.   Of  course,  there  are  lots  of 
others  here  now. 

Lage:    We're  talking  about  a  much  later  period. 

Stampp:   In  the  seventies  and  early  eighties,  we  felt  the  pressure  to  bring 
more  women  in.   I  know  in  the  case  of  one  appointment--!  was  on 
the  committee--it  was  quite  clear  that  this  committee  was  going  to 
find  a  woman,  that  we  were  not  out  to  find  an  historian,  but  we 
were  out  to  find  a  woman  historian.  And  we  found  one.   I'm  not 
sure  that  she  was  the  best  possible  candidate,  but  she  was  very 
good.   Natalie  Davis  was  on  the  committee,  and  Win  Jordan. 

I  have  mixed  feelings  about  affirmative  action  as  it 
sometimes  has  been  implemented,  but  I  believe  in  it.   If  it's  a 
question  of  affirmative  action  or  no,  I  certainly  would  be  for 
affirmative  action.   It  was  probably  a  good  thing  at  that  time  to 
simply  say,  "Okay,  we've  just  got  to  have  some  women  in  this 
department.   They've  been  discriminated  against  for  a  long  time." 

I  remember  the  attitude  of  my  major  professor  way  back  in  the 
1930s.   I  was  sitting  in  his  office  one  day.   I  was  a  teaching 
assistant.   A  woman  came  in  and  talked  to  him  about  doing  graduate 
work  with  him,  and  he  said,  "Why  should  I  waste  my  time  on  you? 
You're  going  to  get  a  degree,  you're  going  to  go  out  and  get 
married,  and  that's  going  to  be  the  end  of  it." 


Lage:    I  recall  your  saying  that  in  the  thirties  in  Wisconsin,  if  a  woman 
had  a  husband  with  a  job,  she  couldn't  be  hired. 

Stampp:   No,  that  was  at  the  high  school  and  elementary  school  level. 

Lage:    I've  heard  similar  stories  right  here  at  the  university.   Lincoln 
Constance  told  me  about  Mildred  Mathias  in  botany.  They  agreed 
that  she  was  a  fine  botanist,  but  her  husband  was  employed,  so  she 
didn't  need  the  work.   So  they  let  her  come  in  and  work  as  an 
unpaid  research  associate. 

Stampp:   I  don't  remember  that,  and  I  don't  remember  it  here. 
Lage:    That  might  not  have  been  true  in  history. 

Stampp:   I  certainly  never  heard  it  in  history.   There  may  at  one  time  have 
been  some  rule  about  not  having  husband  and  wife  in  the  same 
department.   I  have  heard  of  that. 

Lage:    Nepotism. 

Stampp:   Not  having  a  husband  and  wife  in  the  same  department.   That  of 
course  is  gone  now. 

Lage:    You  had  mentioned  Delmer  Brown,  and  I  realized  we  haven't  talked 
much  about  him. 

Stampp:   Yes.   Delmer  and  I  came  the  same  year,  1946,  and  we  became  very 

good  friends.   In  the  whole  controversy  over  Bill  Bouwsma,  Delmer 
Brown  was  always  one  of  his  strong  supporters. 

Lage:    Did  he  play  a  role  in  the  Joe  Levenson  thing,  being  in  Asian 
history  himself? 

Stampp:   Yes,  but  he  was  junior  at  that  time.   He  came  as  an  assistant 

professor,  so  he  couldn't  play  the  role  that  Woodbridge  Bingham, 
who  was  a  full  professor,  could  play,  but  he  was  very  strongly  in 
support  of  Woodbridge,  always  supported  him.   Delmer  became 
chairman—he  must  have  become  chairman  in  '58,  because  in  the  fall 
of  '59  he  went  on  sabbatical,  and  I  suddenly  found  myself  acting 
chairman  of  the  department.   I'll  talk  to  you  about  that. 

Lage:    One  other  follow-up,  though:  I  understand  Bridenbaugh  made  a  very 
controversial  presidential  address  to  the  American  Historical 

Stampp:   That's  right. 

Lage:    Was  that  something  you  would  have  expected  of  him? 


Stampp:  That  was  after  he  left  here. 

Lage:  Yes,  he  wasn't  here.  Wasn't  it  in  '62? 

Stampp:  Yes.   It  was  a  terrible  speech. 

Lage:  Did  you  expect  that  of  him? 

Stampp:   Oh,  it  didn't  surprise  me  very  much.  There  was  a  streak  of  anti- 
Semitism  in  Bridenbaugh.   I  remember  him  saying  to  me  one  time, 
"Have  you  ever  noticed  that  every  time  Joe  Levenson  recommends 
somebody,  it's  a  Jew?"  Well,  I  hadn't  noticed  it,  but  there  were 
good  reasons  why  they  might  have  been  Jews  because  there  were  so 
many  good  Jewish  historians  around  at  that  time.  Well,  that's 
enough . 

I  want  to  talk  [another  time]  about  my  year  as  chairman,  and 
what  I  thought  about  being  chairman  of  the  department,  and  why  I 
never  would  be  one  again. 

Lage:     [laughs]   Okay,  that  would  be  nice. 

Stampp:  And  I  have  to  talk  about  my  break  with  Bridenbaugh,  because  we 
broke  finally. 

Lage:    All  right,  then.   1  had  thought  we  were  through  with  Bridenbaugh, 
but  he'll  come  up  again. 

Stampp:   No,  no,  there's  the  whole  question  of  why  Bridenbaugh  left  here, 
and  why  he  finally  broke  with  most  of  his  friends  here. 

Lage:    Okay,  good.   Then  we'll  go  on-- 

Stampp:   --on  into  the  sixties. 

Lage:    Into  the  sixties,  which  are  always  fun  [see  Chapter  VII]. 


[Interview  6:  May  23,  1996]  ## 

The  Peculiar  Institution 

Lage:    This  is  our  sixth  interview  session  with  Ken  Stampp.   Today  is  May 
23,  1996.  We're  going  to  start  today  talking  about  The  Peculiar 
Institution.  We  did  talk  a  little  bit  about  why  you  wrote  it,  but 
you  might  have  other  thoughts  about  that. 

Stampp:   About  why  I  wrote  it,  yes--being  a  little  unsure  about  precisely 

when  I  decided  to  do  it.   To  my  best  recollection,  it  was  a  former 
graduate  student,  Richard  Heffner,  who,  hearing  my  feeling  that 
there  was  a  need  for  a  new  book,  said,  "Well,  why  don't  you  write 
it?"  and  I  thought  about  it.   I  do  insist  that  it  had  nothing  to 
do  with  the  civil  rights  movement. 

Lage:    Okay,  that's  what  I  wanted  to  ask. 

Stampp:   The  book  came  out  in  1956,  and  so  somebody  suggested--!  think  it 
was  Win  [Winthrop]  Jordan,  actually,  who  used  to  be  in  our 
department  —  that  it  was  somehow  connected  with  the  civil  rights 
movement,  and  it  really  wasn't.   My  decision  to  write  it  dated 
back  to  the  forties. 

Lage:    Oh,  that  early  on? 

Stampp:   Oh,  yes,  I  think  1948  is  the  year  that  I  decided  to  write  it. 

Lage:    And  when  did  you  start  working  on  it? 

Stampp:   I  began  working  on  it  as  soon  as  I  finished  a  book  called  And  the 
War  Came,  which  I  finished  in  1948.   I  began  doing  preliminary 
research,  and  here  there  were—well,  I  could  almost  say  no  source 
materials  at  all,  except  there  were  some  printed  sources  which  I 
used.   I  began  reading  in  the  secondary  literature,  not  only  U.  B. 


Phillips,  but  there  were  lots  of  Phillips-type  histories  of 
slavery  in  individual  states.   I  did  all  that  early  research. 

Then  some  time  around  1950,  '51,  I  wrote  an  article  which  I'm 
going  to  give  you- -or  I  can't  give  it  to  you,  I'm  going  to  lend  it 
to  you — called  "Historians  and  Southern  Negro  Slavery."  This  was 
published  in  the  American  Historical  Review  in  1952.  A  little  bit 
at  the  beginning  might  give  you  a  further  insight  into  my  approach 
to  history  and  my  feelings  about  the  problem  of  objectivity.   This 
was  really  a  critique  of  most  of  what  had  been  written  about 
slavery  before  and  my  feeling  that  a  new  book  had  to  be  written. 
That  was  after  I  decided  to  write  the  book,  so  it  was  in  a  way 
sort  of  an  advance  blurb  for  my  book,  if  you  want  to  call  it  that. 

Dick  Hofstadter  and  I  at  Maryland  talked  about  Phillips  a 
lot,  never  in  terms  of  my  writing  a  book,  but  about  Phillips.   He 
wrote  an  article  that  was  published  in  the  Journal  of  Negro 
History,  I  think  it  was  1944,  called  "U.  B.  Phillips  and  the 
Plantation  Legend."   [April  1944]  Apart  from  certain  racial 
assumptions,  his  principal  criticism  of  Phillips  was  that  his 
material  came  largely  from  the  very  largest  plantations,  owners  of 
100  or  more  slaves.  One  of  his  questions  was  whether  the  picture 
of  slavery  might  be  significantly  revised  if  a  lot  of  the  smaller 
slaveholders  —  and  of  course,  most  slaveholders  were  smaller 
slaveholders  —  if  they  were  included  in  the  research.   Granted  that 
would  be  difficult,  because  they  didn't  leave  as  many  manuscripts, 
letters  and  diaries  and  account  books. 

That  was  a  point  well  taken,  and  I  was  certainly  careful  to 
use  as  many  of  the  smaller  planter  records  as  I  could.  After  all, 
there  were  only  something  like  2,000  slaveholders  who  owned  over 
100  slaves.  Most  of  them  owned  less  than  ten  slaves.   So  when  you 
think  about  slavery,  you're  not  really—as  far  as  the  number  of 
owners  are  concerned— thinking  about  big  slaveholdings  but  rather 
very  small  ones. 

Lage:    Where  did  you  find  the  sources  for  these  smaller  owners? 

Stampp:  Well,  I  used  census  returns  for  1860  to  find  out  how  much  of  the 
staple  crops  — cotton,  tobacco,  sugar,  rice— were  raised  by  these 
smaller  planters.  Very  seldom  did  they  get  into  rice-growing  and 
sugar-growing,  because  that  involved  a  very  substantial  investment 
in  machinery.   But  they  were  very  heavily  involved  in  the  cotton- 
growing  and  in  tobacco-growing  and  hemp-growing  in  Kentucky  and 
Missouri.   I  just  went  through  these  various  states--!  can't 
remember  my  sampling  device,  but  I  would  get  several  hundred 
smaller  slaveholders  in  South  Carolina,  North  Carolina,  Virginia, 
and  so  on,  and  find  out  what  they  did:  how  much  tobacco  they 



Stampp : 





raised,  how  much  cotton  they  raised,  and  how  much  they  were  able 
to  produce  per  slave  hand  compared  with  the  larger  slaveholders. 

I  did  find  a  few  diaries  and  records  of  smaller  slaveholders. 
You  have  to  hunt  for  them. 

Tucked  away  in  different  repositories? 

Yes,  in  different  repositories. 

Did  you  make  any  amazing  finds,  or  just  stumble  on  something? 

Well,  there  are  some  obvious  generalizations  that  you  could  make 
and  that  I  made,  and  one  is  that  they  were  almost--!  was  going  to 
say  almost  never—but  let's  say  rarely  absentee  owners.   There 
were  some  professional  men,  doctors  and  lawyers,  who  would  have  a 
farm  and  a  small  number  of  slaves,  ten  to  twenty  slaves,  and  were 
only  really  part-time  owners  or  operators  of  farms  or  plantations. 

Obviously,  slaves  and  masters  were  closer  together--the  white 
owners  and  the  slaves  lived  much  more  intimately  than  they  did  on 
large  plantations.  It  almost  never  happened  that  a  slaveholder  of 
that  type  would  have  an  overseer.  He  would  do  his  own  overseeing. 
Sometimes  —  it  was  not  uncommon  at  all,  in  fact,  for  the  slaveowner 
and  members  of  his  family  to  work  in  the  fields  with  his  slaves. 

That's  a  very  different  picture  from  the  commonly  held  view. 

Yes.   Particularly  in  the  upper  South  and  in  Virginia  and  North 
Carolina  and  Tennessee  where  there  were  lots  of  these  small 
slaveholdings .   You  would  find  cases  of  owners  working  in  the 
fields,  if  not  all  year  round,  certainly  at  the  crucial  time,  and 
that's  the  harvest  in  the  fall,  when  you've  got  to  have  every  hand 
you  can  get  to  pick  cotton.   Then  everybody  was  out  there:  the 
farmer  and  his  wife  and  his  children  and  whatever  slaves  he  had 
and  their  children  and  so  on.  Also  that  was  true  of  tobacco:  when 
it  was  ready,  you  had  to  get  it  in. 

It  sounds  more  like  a  Northern  farm,  except  for  the  slavery. 

One  question  that  I  was  always  interested  in  was  whether, 
from  the  slave's  point  of  view,  it  would  be  better  to  live  on  a 
smaller  establishment  than  on  a  larger  one,  and  on  that  I'm  not 
sure.   In  the  areas  of  small  slaveholdings,  the  black  slaves  were 
heavily  outnumbered  by  the  white  population.   In  the  areas  of  very 
large  slaveholdings,  you  might  find  more  than  50  percent  of  the 
population  black  slaves.   In  South  Carolina  and  Mississippi, 





Stampp : 

slaves  outnumbered  whites  in  the  total  population,  and  in  Florida, 
Georgia,  Alabama,  Louisiana,  they  were  about  50-50,  half  slave  and 
half  white. 

So  the  question  is,  how  would  the  slaves  feel  about  living  in 
a  sea  of  whites,  as  compared  to  a  situation  where  they're  in  the 
majority  and  where  it  was  easier  for  the  slave  to  escape  the 
eternal  observation  of  whites?  In  their  slave  quarters,  say,  a 
slaveholding  of  seventy-five  or  100  slaves  or  more,  if  you  think 
of  the  slave  quarters  as  a  kind  of  little  community  where  they 
could  have  some  kind  of  community  life  and  frequently  be  free  of 
observation  by  whites,  was  that  more  comfortable  than  living 
somewhere  in  the  Shenandoah  Valley  in  Virginia  on  a  holding  of 
maybe  one  slave  family  or  two  slave  families  and  whites 
everywhere,  where  you  had  no  community  life  of  your  own?  I  don't 
know.   I  suspect  that  they  might  have  found  it  better  to  live  on 
the  larger  slaveholding. 

There  were  no  sources,  I  would  assume,  to  address  that  question? 

No,  you  just  had  to  speculate  on  that.  There  were  some  travelers, 
Frederick  Law  Olmsted  being  the  most  prominent  of  them,  who  had 
observations  and  speculated  on  problems  like  that,  and  I  found 
Olmsted  one  of  my  most  important  sources. 

I  noticed  you  cited  him  a  great  deal. 

Oh,  yes. 

Did  he  seem  to  be  a  good  observer? 

He  was  a  very  good  observer,  and  he  was  not  an  abolitionist.   He 
was  not  a  supporter  of  slavery  by  any  means,  but  he  didn't  go  down 
there  as  a  crusading  abolitionist.  He  couldn't  have  got  around  as 
well  as  he  did  if  he  had  been.   I  thought  he  was  a  very  reliable 
source,  yes. 

Had  he  been  used  by  Phillips  and  others  with  different  views? 

Not  very  much.   Phillips  was  suspicious  of  Olmsted.   I  used  him  a 
good  deal  more  than  U.  B.  Phillips  did.   Phillips  tended  to  use 
the  reminiscences  of  slaveholders  after  the  war,  and  I  used  them 
much  less,  because  they  tended  to  be  rather  sentimental 
reminiscences  about  the  idyllic  conditions  on  plantations,  and  the 
harmony  between  the  races—all  that  sort  of  thing. 

Another  question  was  whether  the  treatment  of  slaves  was 
better  on  the  smaller  holdings  than  on  the  large  plantations. 
Once  again,  I  don't  know.  I  found  cases  of  small  slaveholdings 



where  the  treatment  was  pretty  rough,  and  lots  of  cases  on  large 
plantations  where  the  food  and  shelter  certainly  matched  the  food 
and  shelter  and  clothing  that  slaves  got  on  the  smaller  holdings. 
So  it  would  be  very  hard  to  generalize.   I  think  that  as  a 
generalization,  they  were  better  off,  they  were  happier,  on 
smaller  holdings  than  on  large  holdings. 

Is  that  something  you  address  specifically  in  The  Peculiar 

Stampp:   Yes,  you'll  find  it  there. 

In  the  spring  of  1952,  I  had  applied  for  a  Guggenheim,  and  I 
received  one.   I  was  due  for  a  sabbatical.   So  I  planned  to  be 
away  for  the  whole  year,  from  the  summer  of  '52  to  the  summer  of 
'53.   That's  when  I  was  going  to  do  the  bulk  of  my  research  on 
this  book. 

I  went  to  Wisconsin  in  June  of  1952,  I  think  I've  mentioned 
that,  to  teach  the  summer  session.   I  taught  summer  school,  and  in 
early  September,  late  August,  my  wife  and  my  two  children  and  I 
drove  to  Washington,  or  to  Hyattsville,  which  is  between 
Washington  and  the  University  of  Maryland.   A  professor  from  the 
University  of  Maryland  was  on  leave  that  fall,  and  I  was  very 
fortunately  able  to  rent  his  house. 

During  the  fall,  from  September  until  January,  my  children 
went  to  a  public  school  nearby,  and  I  spent  most  of  my  time  at  the 
Library  of  Congress,  going  through  newspapers  and  manuscripts,  a 
wonderful  depository;  also  some  time  at  the  National  Archives. 
Then  I  took  advantage  of  my  location  to  go  to  Annapolis  and  use 
some  of  their  county  records,  court  records.   I  was  interested  in 
going  through  will  books  to  get  some  evidence  from  them  on 
slaveholders'  attitudes  toward  their  slaves  and  what  they  did  with 
their  slaves  in  their  wills. 

Lage:    Had  this  been  done  before  by  other  scholars? 

Stampp:   Not  to  any  substantial  extent.   I  think  I  was  the  first  one  to  use 
them  extensively.   I  went  through  thousands  of  wills  all  over  the 
South,  just  to  see  what  they  had  to  say  about  their  slaves.   There 
were  a  few  masters  who  would  emancipate  their  slaves,  some  who 
would  emancipate  a  woman  and  her  children,  which  always  led  me  to 
suspect  there  was  a  specific  and  special  reason  for  emancipating 
that  woman  and  her  children.   I  found  that  in  the  great  majority 
of  cases  that  didn't  happen,  an  overwhelming  majority  of  cases, 
and  that  slaves  were  treated  like  any  other  property:  slaves  were 
to  be  divided  among  the  heirs.   Sometimes  —  this  was  always 
slightly  suspicious,  too--a  master  would  will  one  woman  and  her 


children  to  a  son  with  instructions  about  how  she  was  to  be 
treated—that  sort  of  thing. 

I  also  went  to  Baltimore  to  use  the  Maryland  Historical 
Society  materials.   I  went  to  Richmond  while  I  was  in  Washington. 
I  went  to  the  University  of  Virginia  in  Charlottesville.   So  I  was 
able  to  cover  a  lot  of  libraries  from  Hyattsville. 

Researching  Slavery  and  Living  in  the  South,  1952-53 

Stampp:   In  January,  I  moved  to  Chapel  Hill.   I  had  written  to  a  friend  at 
the  university  there,  and  he  had  found  a  quite  satisfactory  place 
for  us  to  live  in  a  suburb  of  Chapel  Hill  called  Carboro,  which  is 
a  mill  town.   It  was  rather  interesting  living  in  a  Southern  mill 
town  for  a  while. 

Lage:    Carboro,  did  you  say? 

Stampp:   It's  strictly  a  mill  town.   I  think  almost  everyone  there  in  the 
town  was  a  textile  worker.   The  virtual  established  church  of 
Carboro  was  the  Baptist  church.   I'm  sure  that  90  percent  of  the 
people  in  that  town  were  Baptists.   The  Baptist  minister  used  to 
haunt  the  school  grounds.   You  know,  the  school  itself  was  almost 
a  Baptist  school,  the  public  school.   My  children  found  it  not  the 
happiest  term,  going  to  that  school.   [laughs] 

Lage:    It  must  have  been  quite  an  experience. 

Stampp:   Yes. 

Lage :    How  old  were  they  then? 

Stampp:   Oh,  let's  see.   In  '52  my  son  was  ten,  and  my  daughter  was  seven. 
I  remember  one  of  the  humiliating  experiences  of  my  son's  life: 
they  were  putting  on  Snow  White,  and  he  had  to  be  one  of  the 
dwarves.  The  thing  that  embarrassed  him  was  that  his  accent  was 
wrong.  He  didn't  sound  like  these  people.   I  remember  Snow  White 
coming  on  stage  and  saying,  "A'm  Snow  Whaaat."   [laughter] 

Lage:    Then  you  had  this  one  Northern  dwarf! 
Stampp:   One  Northern  dwarf,  with  that  funny  accent. 

While  I  was  at  Chapel  Hill,  I  spent  by  far  the  majority  of  my 
time  in  the  Southern  Historical  Collections  at  Chapel  Hill,  which 
is  the  greatest  depository  of  material  on  slaveholding 


plantations,  Southern  agriculture  in  general.  Each  day  I  was 
there  when  it  opened  and  was  there  until  it  closed.   I  went  to 
Duke,  which  was  only  ten  miles  away  and  used  materials  there.   I 
went  to  Raleigh,  where  I  got  census  returns  for  the  state  and  went 
through  them  as  well  as  looking  at  will  books . 

Then  I  made  a  trip  down  to  Columbia,  South  Carolina,  and 
Charleston,  and  also  to  Savannah.   Didn't  find  much  in  Savannah. 
There  was  the  Telfair  Academy,  which  had  one  fine  collection  of  a 
rice  and  cotton  planter.   Found  a  lot  in  Columbia,  South  Carolina; 
some  but  not  much  in  the  South  Carolina  Historical  Society.   In 
Savannah,  I  went  to  the  Georgia  Historical  Society  and  asked  about 
plantation  records,  and  the  woman  who  was  in  charge  said  with 
great  bitterness,  "They're  all  up  in  Chapel  Hill." 

Lage:    That's  why  it's  so  great  there. 

Stampp:   Yes.   The  reason  for  that  was  that  in  the  early  twentieth  century, 
the  head  of  the  Southern  Historical  Collection,  a  professor  at  the 
university,  J.  G.  deRoulhac  Hamilton,  had  gone  all  over  the  South 
urging  people  to  look  up  in  their  attics,  look  in  their  trunks, 
and  he  picked  up  a  tremendous  lot  of  material  and  brought  it  to 
Chapel  Hill,  I  understand  sometimes  a  little  unscrupulously.   He 
would  say,  "Send  it,  we'll  return  it,"  and  he  never  returned  it. 
In  any  case,  he,  more  than  anyone  else,  was  responsible  for 
bringing  this  tremendous  collection  to  Chapel  Hill.   I  found  more 
material  on  Mississippi  in  Chapel  Hill  than  I  did  in  Mississippi. 

Lage:    Of  course,  it  made  it  easier  for  you  as  a  researcher. 
Stampp:   It  did. 

Lage:    Did  this  involve  correspondence--! 'm  just  trying  to  think  what 

kind  of  sources  you  were  using.  Were  some  of  the  primary  sources 
in  Chapel  Hill  correspondence  and  diaries? 

Stampp:   The  material  was  manuscripts,  collections  of  letters  and  diaries, 
and  account  books.  A  lot  of  the  larger  slaveholders  kept  written 
records  of  expenditures  and  purchases,  and  frequently  diaries 
where  you  would  get  some  interesting  material  on  relations  between 
masters  and  slaves.   They're  pretty  candid  in  their  diaries. 

Then  I  took  one  long  trip,  lasted  about  three  weeks,  driving 
to  Baton  Rouge,  and  using  the  material  in  the  State  Department  of 
Archives  and  History  in  Baton  Rouge.   I  went  to  Jackson, 
Mississippi,  and  didn't  find  much.   I  went  to  Montgomery,  Alabama. 
That  was  an  interesting  time.   I  found  quite  a  lot  there  and  once 
again  used  the  census  returns  there.   The  head  of  the  Alabama 
State  Department  of  Archives  at  that  time  was  Mary  Bankhead  Owen, 


the  aunt  of  Tallulah  Bankhead.  Actually  she  raised  Tallulah,  and 
I  think  one  understood  Tallulah  better  after  finding  out  about  her 

Her  aunt  was  in  her  eighties.   I  was  there  in  February  or 
early  March  1953.   That  puts  her  birth  back  somewhere  in  the 
1870s.  Anyway,  everyone  had  to  be  ushered  in  to  Mary  Bankhead 
Owen  before  you  could  use  the  material.   I  went  in  and  sat  down 
and  told  her  what  I  was  doing.   That  was  always  a  problem—my 
accent.  After  talking  to  her  for  a  while,  she  said,  "Well, 
Professor  Stampp,  we'll  do  everything  we  can  for  you.  We  have  all 
the  material  here,  just  ask  for  it,"  and  the  women  who  did  the 
hunting  were  very  good. 

As  I  was  walking  out,  "But  I  just  want  you  to  know  that  as 
far  as  I'm  concerned,  you're  still  a  damn  Yankee."   [laughter] 

Lage:    Said  with— 

Stampp:   Oh,  she  said  it  with  passion,  she  said  it  with  feeling.   This  was 
not  a  joke.   She  meant  it. 

Lage:    She  would  help  you,  but  — 

Stampp:   Yes.   Quite  obviously,  she  didn't  think  it  was  the  greatest  idea 

she  had  ever  heard  herself,  somebody  coming  out  of  Wisconsin,  some 
damn  Yankee  writing  a  book  about  slavery. 

I  can't  think  of  any  place  where  I  didn't  have  everything 
that  I  asked  for,  and  some  even  helped  me  find  things.   I  remember 
in  Virginia,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  in  the  Virginia  Historical 
Society,  a  little  old  lady  coming  to  me  with  something  she  was 
holding  in  her  hand.   It  was  a  little  booklet.   She  asked  me, 
"Would  you  like  to  find  out  something  about  the  other  side  of 
slavery?"   I  assumed  she  was  thinking,  "He's  a  Yankee,  he's  going 
to  be  writing  a  nasty  thing  about  slavery."  What  she  really  meant 
was  that  she  had  a  diary,  or  an  account  book  and  diary,  of  a 
slavetrader  and  somebody  who  was  in  the  business  of  buying  slaves 
and  hiring  them  out  to  transportation  companies,  canal  companies, 
factories,  and  so  on.   I  had  misunderstood  her  completely.   I 
thought  this  little  Southern  lady  was  going  to  be  showing  me 
something  very  good  about  slavery.   It  was  quite  the  reverse. 

Everywhere  I  went—in  South  Carolina,  needless  to  say  in 
Alabama,  in  Louisiana--!  had  to  count  on  spending  at  least  an  hour 
with  the  director  of  whatever  it  was—the  department  of  archives 
or  the  historical  society— listening  to  a  lecture  on  slavery. 

Lage:    Oh,  you're  kidding! 







Stampp ; 

Oh,  yes.   They  all  had  to  give  me  a  lecture  on  what  slavery- 
Is  this  before  you  got  into  the  archives? 

This  is  when  I  came.   I  would  go  in  and  say,  "I'm  Professor  Stampp 
from  the  University  of  California.   I'm  writing  a  book  on 
slavery,"  and  they  would  say,  "Well,  sit  down,  we  can  talk."  And 
the  next  thing  I  knew,  I  was  getting  a  lecture  on  slavery  from 

That  could  have  been  a  book  in  itself. 

Yes,  and  there  were  some  amazing  things  that  I  learned.   In  South 
Carolina,  I  remember,  the  head  of  the  archives  told  me  that  his 
family—and  I  would  always  get  a  bit  of  family  history—that  his 
family  was  one  of  the  smaller  slaveholders;  they  only  owned  about 
100  slaves.  Well,  you  know  where  that  put  him.   I  remember  going 
on  a  tour  in  West  Feliciana  Parish,  Louisiana,  when  I  was  there, 
and  being  told  that  in  West  Feliciana  Parish,  most  of  the 
slaveholders  owned  300  or  more  slaves.  Well,  the  census  returns 
said  there  wasn't  a  single  person  in  that  county  who  owned  300  or 
more  slaves.   So  these  things  did  go  with  memory. 

Great  mythology. 

Yes,  a  lot  of  mythology. 

But  nobody  put  roadblocks  in  your  way,  it  seems? 

No  one  put  roadblocks  in  my  way.   I  can't  think  of  a  single 
person.   Probably  someone  in  the  Bancroft  Library. 

I'll  report  that, 
were  touring. 

[laughter]   This  was  a  segregated  South  you 

This  was  a  totally  segregated  South.   Now,  in  1953,  in  Chapel 
Hill,  one  read  the  Raleigh  News  and  Observer.   That  was  the 
Democratic  liberal  Southern  newspaper,  liberal— more  liberal  than 
most.   The  Supreme  Court  in  1953  had  been  hearing  the  segregation 
cases,  but  that  spring,  the  court  asked  the  defense  and  the 
prosecution  to  reconsider  certain  points,  and  so  they  put  off  for 
another  year  their  decision. 

I  remember  an  editorial- -now,  this  is  the  Raleigh  News  and 
Observer- -an  editorial  in  the  Raleigh  News  and  Observer  saying, 
"Thank  goodness,  the  court  has  given  us  another  year  to  make  our 
separate,  segregated  black  schools  equal."  Not  to  get  rid  of 
them,  but  simply  to  see  to  it  that  they  were  in  fact  equal.   That 
was  the  liberal  position  on  this  at  that  time.   "Let's  do 


something  about  the  black  schools,"  but  certainly  not,  "Let's 
integrate  the  schools." 

Yes,  this  was  a  totally  segregated  South,  and  it  took  a  while 
to  get  used  to  it.  But  I'll  tell  you  something  that  was  sobering. 
After  being  in  Chapel  Hill  six  months  and  seeing  everything 
segregated—waiting  rooms,  restrooms,  drinking  fountains,  the 
schools,  the  churches — it's  very  easy  to  get  used  to  it  and  think, 
Well,  this  is  the  way  it  is.   So  your  capacity  for  indignation  has 
limits,  and  you've  got  to  be  terribly  committed  to  not  let  it  sort 
of  get  you  to  feeling,  Well,  this  is  the  way  it  is. 

Lage:    So  you  could  understand  the  Raleigh  News  and  Observer's  kind  of 
limited  vision. 

Stampp:   Right.  Yes.   There  weren't  many  liberal  Southerners  who  were 

advocating  total  integration.  There  were  some  who  were  appalled 
at  the  hypocrisy  and  the  failure  to  provide  adequate  facilities, 
schools  and  so  on,  for  blacks,  and  there  was  a  scattering  of 
Southerners  who  wanted  the  whole  system  to  be  broken  down.   C. 
Vann  Woodward,  a  historian,  was  one  of  them,  and  there  were 

Lage:    Did  the  community  you  were  living  in  have  a  black  population,  the 
mill  town? 

Stampp:   No.  No,  I  don't  know  that  there  were  any  blacks  in  Carboro.   You 
know,  the  textile  mills  were  strictly  for  white  workers.   The 
agreement,  written  or  unwritten,  after  the  Civil  War  and  after 
industry  began  developing  in  the  South,  was  that  the  textile  mills 
were  for  white  workers ,  and  the  farms  were  for  the  black  workers . 
Chapel  Hill  had  a  small  black  population,  but  I  cannot  remember 
any  street  in  Carboro  where  there  was  a  black  population.   There 
may  have  been,  but  I  can't  remember.   Certainly  it  was  an 
overwhelmingly  white  community. 

Lage:    Did  the  context  of  that  experience  bring  anything  to  the  way  you 
approached  the  book,  do  you  think? 

Stampp:  Well,  the  people  in  Chapel  Hill  were  very  charming.   I  got  to  know 
almost  everyone  in  the  history  department- -they  were  very  cordial, 
they  invited  me  to  all  kinds  of  social  affairs,  and  they  were  very 
nice  people.   Southerners  are  very  nice  people,  you  know.   I 
certainly  don't  think  it  changed  my--well,  it  probably  changed  my 
attitude.   This  was  the  first  time  I  had  ever  lived  in  the  South, 
and  so  that  was  good  for  me.   It  may  have  softened  my  attitude 
toward  whites  in  the  South,  but  certainly  not  my  feelings  about 
slavery,  or  the  way  I  was  going  to  write  my  book  about  slavery.   I 
think  it  was  a  good  experience  for  me  to  have  had,  not  only  in 


Chapel  Hill  but  in  the  other  places  I  went  to  while  I  was  down 

Lage:    Do  you  think  the  tone  of  the  book  might  have  been  different  if  you 
had- -of  course,  you  couldn't  have  done  the  book  without  going 

Stampp:   I  couldn't  have  done  the  book  without  going  there,  yes.   I  don't 
think  it  had  any  effect  on  the  tone  of  my  book.  A  lot  of  the 
Southerners  whom  I  saw,  when  the  book  came  out,  didn't  write  to  me 
and  say,  "This  is  a  great  book."   [laughter] 

Lage:    Right.   Now,  this  was  a  very  different  kind  of  history,  it 

appeared,  from  what  you  had  done  before,  the  much  more  political. 

Stampp:   Well,  this  is  strictly  nonpolitical,  yes. 
Lage:    Was  it  difficult  to  switch  gears? 

Stampp:   In  a  way,  this  book  had  its  beginnings--!  probably  should  have 
said  this  to  begin  with—in  my  lectures  in  my  course  on  the  old 


Stampp:   As  a  matter  of  fact,  I  think  I  remember  going  back  to  my  lecture 

notes  and  finding  that  the  general  organization  of  my  slavery  book 
was  very  similar  to  the  organization  of  my  lectures  on  slavery. 
What  I  did  was  sort  of  fill  it  out  with  the  research  material  that 
I  had. 

Lage:    But  the  actual  choice  of  the  organization,  how  you  proceeded— 

Stampp:   Yes.   Now,  the  organization  is  the  same.   I  modified  my  views 
through  my  research  on  a  number  of  things,  and  perhaps  most 
important  and  most  complete--!  remember  in  my  lectures  on  slavery 
making  the  argument  that  in  the  long  run,  slave  labor  was  an 
unprofitable  way  because  the  slaves  had  no  incentive  to  work,  and 
planters  sort  of  indulged  themselves.  They  didn't  have  a  real 
entrepreneurial  spirit—all  of  this  was  sort  of  traditional.   Even 
in  the  pre-Civil  War  period,  those  who  defended  slavery  rarely 
defended  it  on  economic  grounds  that  it  was  a  profitable  labor 
system,  which  it  was. 

After  the  war,  U.  B.  Phillips,  for  example,  argued  that 
slavery  was  not  profitable,  that  slaveholders  didn't  really  hold 
their  slaves  because  they  were  getting  rich;  it  was  a  matter  of 
controlling  an  alien  population—the  blacks  would  be  a  threat  to 
society  if  they  were  emancipated,  and  so  on. 


Well,  1  went  through  record  books  and  the  census  returns 
where  I  found  out  how  much  small  slaveholders  were  producing,  and 
I  found  that  I  had  to  reverse  myself  completely—that  by  and 
large,  it  was  a  profitable  thing  to  invest  your  capital  in  slave 
labor,  and  that  probably  in  the  pre-Civil  War  period,  there  was  no 
better  way  in  the  Deep  South  to  make  a  good  living,  in  fact  no 
better  chance  to  become  fairly  wealthy  than  by  investing  in  land 
and  slaves. 

So  my  research  really  did  change  my  view  on  that  completely, 
and  in  I  think  it  was  my  second-to-last  chapter  called  "Profit  and 
Loss,"  I  make  the  argument  for  profitability.  And  incidentally, 
most  economists  now  have  taken  that  position,  economic  historians 
who  looked  at  it. 

Lage:     So  are  there  any  other  changes  in  your  perception,  in  regards  to 
the  research? 

Stampp:   There  were  other  changes,  but  I  think  it  was  more  a  matter  of 
beginning  to  think  about  things  I  hadn't  thought  about  before. 
For  example,  while  I  was  doing  my  research,  I  read  a  book  by  a 
sociologist,  I  think  his  name  was  [Robert  L.]  Southerland,  I'm  not 
sure.   I  can't  remember  the  name  of  the  book,  but  it  was  a  book 
about  the  black  population  in  Chicago  in  the  twentieth  century. 
One  of  his  chapters  was  on  black  children  growing  up  to  find  out 
that  they're  black.   How  do  they  find  out? 

He  found  that  sometimes  it  was  the  parents  who  simply  said, 
"You  know,  watch  out  for  Whitey,"  or  something  to  that  effect. 
"Don't  get  into  them,  don't  mess  around  with  them."  Or  it  might 
have  been  some  traumatic  experience  that  a  young  black  child—in 
one  way  or  another,  every  black  child  had  to  learn  his 
dif ferentness. 

That  gave  me  some  thoughts  about  black  families  in  slavery. 
How  did  black  children  learn  about — 

Lage:    Their  place. 

Stampp:   --about  their  place,  that's  right.  And  it's  an  interesting  thing 
to  think  about  what  parents  might  have  told  them,  and  what  kind  of 
experience  they  might  have  had,  what  it  would  be  like  for  a  black 
child  to  see  his  father  or  her  father  whipped,  or  his  or  her 
mother  whipped--!  know  that  lots  of  black  children  saw  it.   And 
what  would  that  do  to  them?  All  of  these  questions  I  hadn't 
really  thought  about  until  I  started  working  on  this. 

Lage:    And  so  some  of  the  book  was  actually  putting  yourself 
imaginatively  in  the  place  of-- 


Stampp:   Trying  awfully  hard,  trying  awfully  hard  to  do  it,  and  realizing 
always  that—and  I  have  that  explicitly  stated  in  there—if  you 
haven't  been  a  slave,  you  don't  know  what  it's  like  to  be  a  slave. 
You  can  think  about  it  and  wonder  about  it,  but  there  was  one 
woman  who  said,  "It's  only  he  who  has  endured  it  that  knows  what 
it's  like  to  be  a  slave." 

I  got  interested  in  role-playing,  and  I  read  some  of  the 
psychological  literature  on  role-playing,  and  wonder  about  the 
degree  to  which  a  slave  who  had  to  play  a  role— in  other  words,  to 
get  on  with  the  master,  you  had  to  be  a  Sambo:  amiable,  agreeable. 
There  were  some  slaves  who  couldn't  do  it  and  were  the  trouble 
makers  . 

But  to  what  extent  did  they  actually  internalize  this?  How 
much  was  this  conscious  or  at  least  semiconscious  role-playing  on 
their  part?  And  were  they  different  in  their  quarters?  I  think 
they  were,  that  among  themselves  they  had  their  own  scales  of 
values,  and  ideas  of  who  were  heroes. 

Lage:    Now,  what  kind  of  sources  would  you  draw  on  for  that? 

Stampp:   Sometimes  planters'  records,  sometimes  the  reminiscences  of --lots 
of  slaves  wrote.   I  shouldn't  say  wrote— 

Lage:    Dictated. 

Stampp:   Dictated  autobiographies.   Some  of  them  wrote— Frederick  Douglass 
certainly  did—but  most  autobiographies  are  suspect,  because 
usually  they  were  dictated  or  written  by  abolitionists,  and  we 
don't  know  how  much  they  threw  out  leading  questions  and  that  sort 
of  thing.   But  you  found  a  lot  in  the  planters' --every  now  and 
then— confessions.   He's  writing  to  himself,  doesn't  expect  anyone 
to  read  his  diary,  and  he  says,  "I  must  say,  they  bewilder  me 
sometimes,  the  things  they  do  and  the  things  they  say.   You  can 
never  trust  them.   They  tell  you  one  thing  with  a  smiling  face, 
and  they're  thinking  something  else."  Things  like  that  crop  up, 
but  these  are  the  more  perceptive  owners.  A  lot  of  them  weren't 
all  that  perceptive,  but  this  gave  me  some  clues. 

Now,  another  source:  the  agricultural  journals  of  the  pre- 
Civil  War  period.   There  was  one  called  the  American  Cotton 
Planter,  and  there  were  a  whole  series  of  agricultural  journals  — 
and  one  of  the  most  common  articles  in  the  agricultural  journals 
had  a  title  something  like  this:  "On  the  Management  of  Slaves." 
These  articles  were  written—most  of  the  subscribers  were 
slaveholders  —  so  they  were  writing  to  each  other.   "This  is  how  I 
do  it."  And  they  posed  the  problems:  "If  you  do  this,  the  slaves 
are  probably  going  to  behave  that  way,"  and  "What's  the  best  way 


of  disciplining  them?"  and  so  on. 
extremely  revealing. 

I  found  those  articles 

Lage:    Because  they're  describing  the  so-called  problems  of  slaveholders. 

Stampp:   Yes,  right.  Another  source  that  I  found  very  valuable  were 
fugitive  slave  ads,  and  I  read  thousands  of  them,  because  if 
you're  looking  for  a  fugitive  slave,  you've  got  to  be  accurate  in 
your  description.  There's  no  point  in  concealing  the  facts.   So 
you  would  find  slaves  described  as  to  their  personalities.  What 
was  the  most  common  one?   "He's  very  plausible,  he  stutters  when 
he  speaks."  In  other  words,  he  knows  how  to  talk  to  white  men,  so 
watch  out.   Sometimes  they  would  warn  that  he  could  be  violent. 

Lage:    Would  they  describe  scars? 

Stampp:   That's  right,  their  marks--"His  back  is  marked"--or  in  the  early 
nineteenth  century  about  brand  marks.  When  the  abolitionists 
began  picking  that  up,  you  found  less  and  less  of  that  in  the 
fugitive  slave  ads. 

Lage :  Too  dangerous . 

Stampp:  I  found  much  more  of  it  earlier  than  later  on. 

Lage:  Had  Phillips  used  this  kind  of  thing?  Or  any  of  the  others? 

Stampp:  Not  the  way  I  used  it.   [laughter] 

Lage:  I'm  sure  not  with  the  same  conclusion. 

Stampp:  No. 

Now,  another  source  that  was  available—and  I  used  very 
sparingly—were  slave  narratives  collected  in  1920s  and  early 
1930s.   They're  all  published  now.  These  were  collected  in  the 
thirties  as  one  of  the  WPA  writers  projects,  and  I  found  them  no 
more  reliable,  as  far  as  the  information  slaves  provided,  than  the 
reminiscences  of  slaveholders  when  they  wrote  their  sentimental 
books  about  life  on  the  old  plantations.   Most  of  the  people  who 
collected  the  reminiscences  were  white,  they  were  talking  to 
people  in  their  eighties,  and  by  and  large  the  reminiscences  of 
these  people  were  about  their  childhood  back  in  the  1850s.   You 
know,  in  early  years,  life  for  these  slave  children  wasn't  all 
that  bad.  They  had  sort  of  sentimental  memories  about  playing 
around  on  the  plantation. 

Lage:    Did  they  tend  to  paint  a  happier  picture  than  you  would  have 


Stampp:   Well,  I  was  surprised  how  many  times  it  was  happy.   Remember,  most 
of  these  old  blacks  were  very  poor.   Social  Security  was  coming 
in,  and  they  were  wondering  about  pensions  and  if  these  people 
were  coming  around  to  see  whether  they  could  have  a  pension.  And 
they  were  talking  to  whites.   By  and  large,  the  majority  of  them 
say,  "You  know,  it  wasn't  all  that  bad,"  and  I  don't  believe  that. 

Lage:    So  they're  not  a  source  about  what  happened  in  the  1850s,  but 
maybe  something  about  the  1930s. 

Stampp:   They  may  well  be  a  source  about  that,  and  about  the  post- 
Reconstruction,  post-Civil  War  period,  and  an  interesting  source, 
too,  for  somebody  interested  in  the  problems  of  memory  and  how  one 
filters  things.   I  think  one  tends  to  filter  out  a  lot  of  the  bad, 
and  one  wants  to  feel  that  his  life  was  not  a  total  loss.   So  I 
used  them  sparingly.   I've  been  criticized  for  that,  too.   I  guess 
I  should  have  used  them  more  just  so  I  could  have  defended  myself 

Lage:     [laughs]   Well,  in  retrospect,  how  would  you  have  done  it 

differently  if  you  were  writing  it  today,  or  would  you  have  done 
anything  differently? 

Stampp:   Oh,  there  are  lots  of  things  that  would  be  different.   Shall  I 
finish  talking  about  writing  the  book? 

Lage:     Sure. 

Stampp:   And  then  talk  about  what  I  would  do  later  on. 

Lage:    That's  fine. 

Stampp:  When  the  Guggenheim  year  was  over  in  July,  we  came  back  to 
Berkeley.   I  had  a  little  more  research  to  clear  up  out  of 
secondary  sources,  but  I  began  writing  in  the  late  fall  or  maybe 
early  winter  of  1953- '54.   It  was  a  terrible  experience  beginning 
that  book.   I  was  terribly  concerned  about  this  book  and  my 
responsibility  in  writing  it.   I  really  wanted  to  write  a  book 
that  would  persuade  Southerners  that  slavery  wasn't  quite  like  the 
myths  and  legends . 

Lage:    I'm  just  remembering  something  you  said  here  about,  "It's  an 
article  of  faith  that  knowledge  of  the  past  is  a  key  to 
understanding  the  present."  Did  you  have  that  sense-- 

Stampp:   Yes,  sure. 

Lage:     --that  you  could  make  a  difference? 


Stampp:   Yes.   I  did  not  want  to  write  a  piece  of  abolitionist  propaganda, 
although  I've  been  accused  of  that.   So  when  I  started  writing 
that  first  chapter,  I  wrote  over  and  over  and  over  again.   I  would 
write  it,  and  it  wasn't  right,  and  I  still  am  not  satisfied  with 
it.   For  a  while  I  began  to  think,  "You  are  never  going  to  write 
this  book.   It's  Just  too  much  for  you."  But  I  finally  did  get  a 
first  chapter  written  that  I  felt  was  going  to  be  okay. 

Lage:    Is  this  a  solitary  activity  for  a  historian,  or  do  you  have 
colleagues  that  you  shared  these  problems  with? 

Stampp:   No,  this  was  a  solitary  activity.  However,  I  did  send  my  chapters 
out  to  different  people  to  read,  and  while  I  was  writing,  I  sent 
my  chapters  to  two  people.   I  don't  recall  showing  them  to  anyone 
here  until  the  book  was  finished.  One  was  Dick  Hofstadter  at 
Columbia,  and  the  other  was  my  friend  Richard  Current,  who  at  that 
time--I  think  he  was  at  the  University  of  Illinois.  Dick  Current, 
again,  was  very  good  in  helping  me  with  my  prose.  Hofstadter  read 
it,  didn't  worry  too  much  about  the  prose  but  commented  on 
interpretations . 

It's  interesting,  I  got  opposite  advice  from  the  two  about 
what  I  was  doing.   Hofstadter 's  comment  about  halfway  through  the 
book  was,  "Ken,  you're  pulling  your  punches.  Why  don't  you  really 
write  what  you  feel  about  this?  Let  your  feelings  come  out  in 
this  book."   Current  wrote,  "Ken,  keep  calm.   Don't--"  in  effect, 
the  opposite.   Just  the  opposite. 

Lage:    Did  they  perceive  what  you  had  done  differently,  or  did  they  have 
very,  very  different  ideas? 

Stampp:  Well,  they're  both  good  liberals,  but  Dick  Current  wanted  me  to 

write  a  book  that  didn't  show  much  moral  indignation,  and  I  think 
that's  the  term  that  Dick  said:  "Let  your  moral  indignation  come 
out  a  bit  more."   So  I  decided  maybe  what  I'm  doing  was  okay  the 
way  I  was  doing  it,  because  I  got  these  two  opposite  reactions. 

I  finally  got  through  the  first  chapter,  and  I  was  writing 
most  of  1954.   Then  I  had  an  invitation  to  teach  at  Harvard  for 
the  winter-spring  term  of  1955.   By  that  time,  I  must  have  been 
more  than  halfway  through  writing  the  book.   In  any  case,  Harvard 
was  a  wonderful  opportunity.  My  teaching  load  was  fairly  light, 
we  found  a  wonderful  place  to  live  in  Cambridge,  on  the  grounds  of 
the  Episcopal  Theological  Seminary,  an  old  house  built  in  the 
1840s  with  lots  of  room  in  it. 

But  the  main  thing  is  that  I  had  a  light  teaching  load.   I 
lectured  twice  a  week  in  the  American  history  survey  course- -maybe 
it  was  three  times,  I'm  not  sure—and  ran  a  seminar,  and  I  had 



just  a  small  group  of  students  in  the  seminar.   I  had  an  office  in 
the  stacks  of  the  Widener  Library  and  free  access  to  everything  in 
the  stacks,  so  any  book  I  needed,  I  could  find  there.   I  found 
some  pre-Civil  War  books  that  I  hadn't  found  elsewhere  there,  and 
I  wrote  steadily.   In  June,  1955,  the  book  was  finished. 

Finished  up  in  Cambridge. 

I  finished  the  book  in  the  stacks  of  Widener  Library  at  Harvard  in 
June,  1955. 

Reviews  and  Responses 

Stampp:   Now,  the  question  of  a  publisher.   I  have  to  go  back  a  bit.  Knopf 
published  it,  but  I've  told  you  earlier  about  my  unfortunate 
relationship  with  Knopf  with  my  book  And  the  War  Came- -giving  them 
an  opportunity  to  reject  it  twice.   It  was  a  double  humiliation. 
Anyway,  And  the  War  Came  was  out  in  1950,  and  it  had  very  good 
reviews.   Alfred  Knopf,  the  old  man,  was  pretty  peeved  at  one  book 
man  at  Knopf,  one  of  their  field  men,  because  he's  the  one  who  had 
solicited  the  manuscript.   I  had  said,  "I  will  never  publish  a 
book  with  Knopf." 

Anyway,  this  man  came  to  me  in  1952  at  a  convention  and  said, 
"I  hear  you're  writing  a  book  about  slavery."  I  said,  "Yes,  but 
Knopf  is  not  going  to  have  it."  I  don't  think  is  an  exaggeration: 
I  think  he  must  have  been  under  considerable  pressure  from  Knopf 
because  he  practically  got  on  his  knees  and  asked  for  it.   I  said, 
"I'll  never  send  you  the  manuscript.   If  you  want  to  give  me  a 
contract  without  ever  seeing  the  manuscript,  okay."  And  I  got  it. 

Lage:     [laughter]   Interesting!   Sight  unseen. 

Stampp:   Sight  unseen.   I  was  never  going  to  let  them  turn  down  another 
manuscript  or  another  book  of  mine.   So  I'm  very  glad  because 

Knopf  makes  beautiful  books,  and  he  does  a  pretty  good  job  of 

So  I  sent  the  manuscript  to  Knopf  the  late  summer  of  1955, 
and  I  had  an  editor  whose  name  I  can't  remember,  and  he 
disappeared  before  the  book  was  finished.   He  probably  was  fired. 
Knopf  was  always  firing  people.   So  for  the  last  bit,  I  didn't 
have  an  editor.   The  manuscript  —  it  was  a  clean  manuscript.   I  had 
a  typist  who  really  made  no  typos--!  couldn't  find  any—and  raised 
a  couple  of  questions.   She  did  a  little  bit  of  editing,  actually, 
anyway.   So  the  manuscript  was  a  nice  clean  one  that  I  sent  to 







Knopf;  then  later  in  his  reminiscences,  Alfred  Knopf  said  that  in 
all  the  time  that  he  was  running  his  company,  he  had  only  received 
two  manuscripts  that  could  go  straight  to  the  publisher  without 
editing.  Mine  was  one,  he  said;  another  was  a  friend  of  his  who 
also  had  written  on  black  history. 

Well,  that  was  partly  true,  but  it  also  covered  the  fact,  or 
disguised  or  concealed  the  fact,  that  my  editor  had  been  fired. 

[laughter]  And  that's  why  it  went  directly—interesting. 

Anyway,  it's  a  nice  story,  and  it  never  made  me  unhappy  to  have 
Knopf  say  that  my  manuscript  was  so  letter-perfect. 

Let  me  just  ask  you,  you  mention  here  other  people  who  read  parts 
of  it. 

Yes.   These  were  people  who  read—now,  Carl  Bridenbaugh  read  the 
whole  manuscript,  and  Henry  May--I  mention  Henry  May,  don't  I? 

Frank  Freidel,  and  the  one  I  was  curious  about  was  Paul  Taylor. 

Paul  Taylor  was  an  economist  here,  an  agricultural  economist.   I 
knew  Paul  Taylor  fairly  well,  used  to  lunch  with  him  at  the 
Faculty  Club.   I  showed  him  the  manuscript,  and  he  made  some 
interesting  comments  on  what  I  said  about  the  economics  of 
slavery,  which  I  found  very  useful. 

Who  else? 

There  are  other  people  that  I  talked  to  about 

Oh,  yes,  you  mentioned  people  that  you-- 

Yes,  that  I  talked  to  about  specific  things.   Frank  Freidel. 
Henry  May  read  the  whole  manuscript,  Taylor  read  the  whole 
manuscript,  and  then  I  say,  "I  had  valued  advice  from  Reinhardt 
Bendix,  John  Hope  Franklin,"  and  these  others.  These  are  people  I 
talked  to  about  the  book.   James  King,  a  Bolton  student,  had 
written  a  dissertation  on  slavery  in  the  West  Indies,  so  we  had  a 
lot  to  talk  about,  comparing  and  so  on.  He  never  published  his 

John  Hope  Franklin- -how  much  interchange  did  you  have  with  him? 

I  got  to  know  John  in  1949,  and  we  talked  a  lot  about  it,  at 

different  times.   We  met  at  conventions.   John  actually  came  out 

and  taught  here  one  summer,  I  can't  remember  which  summer  it  was. 

It  was  the  early  1950s  that  he  taught  a  summer  session  at 


Berkeley,  and  I  saw  a  lot  of  him  then, 
on,  I  talked  to  him  about  that. 

He  knew  what  I  was  working 

Lage:    Did  anyone  give  you  advice  that  turned  you  in  new  directions? 

Stampp:   I  don't  think  so.   I  can't  think  of  anyone  whom  I  listened  to  and 
took  a  lot  of  advice  from  on  specific  things;  neither  Dick 
Hofstadter  or  Dick  Current  changed  my  direction  by  their  advice. 

Lage:    Right,  which  would  have  been  very  basic. 

Stampp:   They  sort  of  canceled  each  other  out,  in  a  way.   John  Hope 

Franklin--!  think  it  was  1949  that  he  published  the  first  edition 
of  his  book  From  Slavery  to  Freedom,  and  he  had  a  good-sized 
chapter  on  slavery,  which  I  read  and  talked  to  him  about. 

Lage:    Had  he  done  work  in  sources  such  as  you  had? 

Stampp:   No,  not  on  slavery.   His  book  was  not—actually,  it  couldn't  be  a 
deeply  researched  book  because  he  was  covering  an  enormous  span  of 
time,  from  the  colonial  period  to  the  twentieth  century.   I 
wouldn't  call  it  a  textbook,  but  it  was  a  survey  that  had  to  be 
written  primarily  from  published  sources. 

Lage:    Okay.   Have  we  talked  about  the  reception? 

Stampp:   All  right.   [laughs]   That's  interesting.   It  was  published  in 
October,  1956.  As  far  as  I  know,  it  received  no  prizes.   There 
was  no  Pulitzer  prize  or  Bancroft  prize.   There  was  a  prize  at 
that  time  given  for  the  best  book  in  Southern  history,  and  it 
didn't  even  win  that  prize,  though  I  think  it  was  by  far  the  best 
book  in  Southern  history  that  year.   The  only  prize  actually  came 
years  and  years  later,  and  that's  — 

Lage:    The  Lincoln  prize. 

Stampp:   I  got  the  Lincoln  prize  in  1992—what  does  it  say  there?-- 1993. 

Lage:    1993,  but  that  was  for  cumulative  work? 

Stampp:   Well,  it  was  sort  of  a  lifetime  award,  but  the  thing  they  always 

featured  in  their  presentation  prize  was  The  Peculiar  Institution, 
which  most  people  think  is  the  most  important  book  I  wrote. 

The  reviews?  I  don't  see  that  there's  any  point,  but  I  have 
typed  out  what  one  reviewer  says  against  what  another  reviewer 
says,  and  they  contradict  each  other.   That's  always  true,  though, 
in  books.   1  would  say  the  review  that  to  me  was  the  most 
satisfying,  gratifying,  was  the  review  written  by  C.  Vann 









Woodward.   It  was  published  in  the  Herald-Tribune  book  section  in 
the  fall  of  1956,  and  it  was  unqualified  praise  for  the  book. 
Vann  being  a  Southerner  is  what  made  me  especially  pleased. 

There  were  quite  a  number  of  good  reviews,  as  a  matter  of 
fact,  but  quite  hostile — and  this  really  disappointed  me—quite 
hostile  reviews  came  out  of  the  South,  by  and  large. 

From,  when  you  say  "out  of  the  South,' 

by  established  Southern 

I'm  talking  about  the  review  in  the  Journal  of  Southern  History, 
for  example,  written  by  a  Tennessean.   [laughs]   I  did  kind  of 
laugh  at  the  time,  but  it  hurt  a  little  bit.  His  last  comment 
was,  "It's  been  a  long  time,"  I  don't  know  how  many  years,  X 
number  of  years,  "since  U.  B.  Phillips'  book  was  published  on 
slavery.   Let's  hope  it  won't  be  that  long  before  another  one  will 
be  written."   [laughter]   I  thought  that  wasn't  bad.   He  had 
nothing  good  to  say  about  the  book;  it  was  just  terrible  from 
beginning  to  end. 

What  were  their  criticisms,  the  people  who  took  that  point  of 

Oh,  it  was  an  abolitionist  tract,  I  was  biased,  I  emphasized 
nothing  but  the  cruelty  of  slavery,  I  exaggerated  the  cruelty—the 
book  doesn't  do  that,  I  don't  think  it  does. 

No,  it  seems  very  even-handed,  as  you  look  at  it  in  retrospect. 

No,  I  don't  think  it  exaggerates  the  cruelty  at  all.   But  these 
were  the  sort  of  gut  reactions  from  most  Southerners.   By  and 
large,  the  reviews  in  Southern  newspapers,  with  a  few  exceptions, 
were  not  good.   They  were  pretty  hostile. 

And  by  this  time,  we  had  Brown  v.  Board  of  Education. 
That's  right. 

And  the  beginning  of  the  civil  rights  movement.   Perhaps  that 
affected  the  reviews. 

Yes.  Well,  that  did,  and  of  course,  much  of  the  South  was  up  in 
arms  against  the  decision.   David  Donald  reviewed  it  in  the 
American  Historical  Review,  and  he  praised  me  a  little  in  the 
first  half  and  then  really  gave  me  the  works  in  the  second  half. 


And  was  he  a  Southerner  also? 


Stampp:   David  Donald  is  a  Mississippian,  and  in  '56,  he  taught—he's 

retired  now—he  taught  at  Harvard  for  quite  a  while.   He  taught  at 
Johns  Hopkins  for  a  while  and  taught  at  Columbia  for  a  while,  and 
I  can't  remember  where  he  was  when  he  wrote  the  review,  but  it  was 
not  a  nice  review,  except  for  the  first  half.   He  said  something 
to  the  effect  that  it  was  the  most  important  book  on  the  South— 
[looks  for  review]  I'll  see  if  I  can  find  it  so  I  quote  it 
accurately.   [moves  away  from  microphone]   Can't  do  it  now— 

Lage:     Is  it  in  one  of  the  revised--? 

Stampp:   It's  on  the  back  of  the  paperback  edition,  but  I  can't  seem  to 
find  that  right  now. 

Lage:    Well,  we'll  find  it. 

Stampp:   Anyway,  he  said  it  was  a  very  important  book,  and  then  he  got  into 
it.   His  major  criticism  was  that  it  was  ahistorical,  that  I  was 
in  effect  a  twentieth- century  abolitionist  writing  an  abolitionist 
tract,  and- -I  won't  go  into  all  the  detail,  but  that  was  the  tenor 
of  it. 

I  don't  know  whether  I  told  you  my  major  professor  wrote  a 
review  of  it  in  the  Milwaukee  Journal,  my  hometown  newspaper,  of 
all  things,  and  it  was  a  nasty  review. 

Lage:    Yes,  you  mentioned  that  when  we  were  talking  about  Hesseltine. 

Stampp:   That  really  was  a  nasty  review,  accusing  me  of  trying  to  gear  the 
book  to  win  a  Pulitzer  prize,  which  was  nonsense.   He  must  have 
been  happy  that  I  didn't  win  it  anyway. 

Let's  see.   Then  three  years  later,  another  book  on  slavery 
came  out.   Stanley  Elkins  wrote  a  book  on  slavery,  which  he  just 
called  Slavery.   He  developed  a  thesis  based  on  some  of  the 
psychological  theories  of  Harry  Stack  Sullivan  and  some  of  the 
reading  that  he  had  done  about  concentration  camps,  and  he  used 
the  German  Nazi  concentration  camps  as  an  analogy  to  find  out  what 
that  kind  of  experience  could  do  to  a  human  being. 


Lage:    What  was  Elkins1  conclusion? 

Stampp:   He  came  to  the  conclusion  that  the  great  majority  of  slaves  had 
internalized  the  Sambo  role,  that  it  was  not  just  plain  role- 
playing  at  all,  that  they  had  indeed  become  Sambos,  and  that  it 
was  the  consequences  of  the  impact  of  slavery  on  their 
personalities . 


I  waited  a  long  time.   It  was  criticized  by  many  historians, 
but  sociologists  loved  it  and  picked  it  up  and  thought  this  was  a 
great  piece  of  history  writing.   I  didn't  say  anything  at  all  for 
quite  a  long  time,  but  finally  I  was  invited  to  give  a  lecture, 
the  opening  sort  of  keynote  address  at  a  meeting  of  the  Southern 
Historical  Association  in  1970.   I  read  a  paper  called  "Rebels  and 
Sambos:  the  Search  for  the  Negro's  Personality  in  Slavery." 
[published  in  Journal  of  Southern  History,  August  1971]   I  wrote 
to  Elkins  and  said,  "I'm  going  to  do  that,  if  you'd  like  to  come." 
Well,  he  wasn't  there. 

Lage:    Did  you  know  him? 

Stampp:   Yes,  I  had  run  into  him  several  times,  and  we  talked.   He  said 

some  very  rough  things  about  my  book,  too,  that  my  book  really  was 
dictated  by  U.  B.  Phillips,  my  organization  was  very  much  like 
Phillips.   Of  course  it  was!   I  was  answering  Phillips. 

In  my  paper,  I  read  Harry  Stack  Sullivan,  and  I  read  Freud, 
and  I  read  a  number  of  other  things.   I  was  convinced  first  of  all 
that  he  had  misrepresented  Harry  Stack  Sullivan.   I  had  quotes 
from  Sullivan  which  I  thought  sort  of  refuted  what  he  was  saying 
and  the  way  he  was  using  Harry  Stack  Sullivan.   Then  I  got  after 
him  on  the  concentration  camp  analogy;  I  thought  that  was 
ridiculous  because  one  fundamental  difference  is  that  slaves 
didn't  really  think  that  they  were  going  to  be  killed  by  their 
masters,  whereas  people  in  concentration  camps  had  really  lost 
hope.   They  were  dying  by  the  millions,  and  this  is  not  what 
happened  to  slaves.  And  there  were  lots  of  other  ways  in  which  I 
thought  the  concentration  camp  analogy  was  just  no  good.   So  that 
was  my  answer. 

Lage:    Elkins'  interpretation  is  no  longer  accepted? 

Stampp:   I  don't  think  so. 

Lage:    What  was  his  background?  Was  he  from  the  North? 

Stampp:   Yes,  he's  a  Northerner.   And  incidentally,  I  think  I  was  one  of 

the  first  Northerners  who  wrote  a  book  about  the  South- -about  the 
old  South.   There  were  plenty  of  Northerners  who  wrote  things 
about  the  South  after  the  Civil  War. 

Lage:    As  you  described  the  reviews,  you  make  the  reception  of  the  book 
seem  sort  of  negative,  but  wasn't  it  very  welcomed? 

Stampp:   No,  no,  it  had  some  very  good  reviews--C.  Vann  Woodward 's--and  it 
sold  reasonably  well.   In  fact,  it  sold  well  enough  that  Knopf 
wouldn't  put  it  in  a  paperback.   I  kept  writing  to  him  and  saying, 


"How  about  putting  it  in  paper?"  He  said,  "Well,  it  has  a  good 
sale;  why  should  we  put  it  in  paperback?"  I  got  impatient  with 
him  in  the  sixties,  and  I  said,  "Look,  I  think  you  either  should 
put  it  in  a  paperback  or  let  someone  else  put  it  in  a  paperback." 
Finally,  I  think  it  was  1965,  he  put  it  in  a  paperback,  and  that 
is  just  when  black  history  was  becoming  popular,  and  it  was 
selling  10,000,  15,000  copies  a  year  for  a  while  in  the  paperback 

Lage:    Was  it  used  a  lot  in  teaching? 

Stampp:   It  was  used  in  black  history  courses  quite  extensively. 

Now--just  to  go  along  with  this—we  get  to  the  sixties  and 
black  nationalism.   Then  I  got  static  from  another  source,  not 
from  white  Southerners  but  from  black  nationalists  who  in  effect 
were  saying,  "What  do  you  know  about  slavery?  How  can  you  know 
anything  about  slavery?" 

I  remember  attending  a  conference  on  slavery  at  Wayne  State 
University  in  Detroit  in  the  summer  of  1968.   I  had  just  come  home 
from  Europe  and  teaching  at  University  of  Munich,  and  I'll  go  into 
that  later.   I  was  invited  to  this  conference,  and  there  were  a 
number  of  historians  there,  black  historians  and  white  historians. 
It  was  very  hot,  and  there  was  no  air  conditioning  as  I  recall 
where  we  were  meeting. 

About  fifteen  or  twenty  of  us  adjourned  to  a  bar  nearby  where 
it  was  cool,  air-conditioned,  and  got  into  a  corner,  and  the 
debate  went  on  about  what  a  white  man  could  ever  understand  about 
black  slavery.   I  can  remember  one  black  student  literally 
pounding  my  knee  like  this,  saying,  "What  do  you  know--"  I  can't 
remember  exactly,  but  in  effect,  "What  do  you  know  about  this? 
How  do  you  know  about  what  black  people  think?"  And  the  only 
answer  I  could  give  is,  "There's  a  lot  I  don't  know,  but  I  do  my 
best,  and  I  could  say  the  same  to  you.   You  write  about  white 
slaveholders.   How  do  you  know  about  white  slaveholders?  You're 
not  a  white  slaveholder.   It  works  both  ways." 

I  eventually  extended  that  and  said,  "You  know,  if  we  accept 
this,  then  how  can  an  American  write  about  China,  or  Japan,  or 
Irishmen  about  France?  If  you  think  about  it,  how  can  a 
twentieth-century  man  write  about  seventeenth-century  Puritanism, 
about  the  Middle  Ages,  or  about  ancient  history?  And  if  you  think 
about  it  really  carefully,  you'll  come  to  the  conclusion  that  the 
only  thing  you  can  write  about  is  autobiography,  and  that's 
assuming  you  can  even  understand  yourself." 


That  was  a  problem  in  the  sixties,  but  it  is  not  any  more. 
The  book  is  still  selling,  something  like  5,000  copies  a  year  in 
paperback.  They're  still  being  used.  The  South  has  changed,  and 
Southern  historians  now  accept  my  book  and  think  it ' s  pretty  good 
stuff.   [laughter] 

Lage:    That's  gratifying. 

Stampp:   Yes. 

Lage:    I  understand  there's  going  to  be  a  fortieth  anniversary  event? 

Stampp:   Yes.   In  Little  Rock,  Arkansas,  of  all  places,  next  October 

[1996],  the  Southern  Historical  Association  is  meeting  there,  and 
they're  going  to  have  one  section  on  The  Peculiar  Institution 
forty  years  later.  Three  papers  are  going  to  be  read,  one  by 
Elizabeth  Fox  Genovese.   That  will  be  interesting—then  a  black 
historian,  and  then  a  historian  from  the  University  of  South 
Carolina.   It's  quite  likely  that  the  man  from  the  University  of 
South  Carolina—in  fact,  I  know  he's  going  to  praise  the  book.   I 
don't  know  what  the  black  historian  will  do. 

Lage:    And  will  you  be  there? 

Stampp:   I  almost  forgot  that  one  of  the  reviewers  of  my  book  in  1957  was 

Eugene  Genovese,  writing  under  a  pseudonym  in  Science  and  Society. 
This  was  a  time  when  Genovese  was  in  the  Communist  party,  or  had 
just  maybe  been  kicked  out  of  the  Communist  party,  but  it  was  in 
that  period  when  he  was  Marxist.  He  wrote  under  the  pseudonym, 
"Delia  Chiesa."  Funny  one.  You  know  what  that  means? 

Lage:    No. 

Stampp:   "Delia  Chiesa,"  from  the  church,  of  all  things. 

Lage:    Oh,  my  goodness. 

Stampp:   I  had  no  idea  who  it  was.  Actually,  it's  more  interesting  than 
that,  because  this  is  the  time  when  the  Communist  party  was  sort 
of  opening  up  to  conflicting  points  of  view,  and  it  was  reviewed 
by  Gene  Genovese,  a  very,  very  hostile  review,  very  defensive  of 
U.  B.  Phillips. 

Lage:    Defensive  of  Phillips? 

Stampp:   Genovese  has  been  one  of  Phillips'  great  admirers.   Well,  think  of 
it  from  a  Marxist  point  of  view.  Who  are  these  planters?  They're 
sort  of  Medieval--!  mean,  their  values  are  sort  of  Medieval. 
They're  just  playing  their  historic  role,  and  Phillips  knows  about 


it  and  understands  them.  Later  on,  Genovese  said,  "Of  course, 
when  the  Civil  War  was  over,  they  should  have  all  been  lined  up 
and  shot,"  the  slaveholders.  Well,  this  is  a  sort  of  rash, 
Marxist  approach. 

Anyway,  he  wrote  a  very  critical  review,  and  I  believe  in  the 
same  edition,  Herbert  Aptheker  wrote  a  very  favorable  review.   So 
here  are  two  Communists  taking  opposite  positions  on  the  slavery 
book.   [laughs] 

Lage:    In  that  same  "Rebels  and  Sambos,"  didn't  you  also  deal  with 
Herbert  Aptheker? 

Stampp:   I  think  so,  but  I  really  don't  remember.   I  haven't  looked  at  that 
article  for  quite  a  long  time. 

Lage:  I  looked  at  it;  it's  republished  in  the  collection. 

Stampp:  Yes,  that's  right. 

Lage:  And  I  think  that  was  the  rebel  part,  perhaps. 

Stampp:  In  my  Imperiled  Union  book,  it's  there. 

Reflections  on  Slave  Religion  and  Culture 

Stampp:   I  should  say  more  than  that,  and  now  we  can  get  to  the  point  of 
how  would  I  change  it .   I  indicated  that  to  some  extent  in  that 
article.   I  would  have  done  more  with  the  slave  family  than  I  did, 
and  a  lot  of  good  stuff  has  been  done  on  the  slave  family  since  my 
book—in  fact,  a  lot  of  good  stuff  has  been  done  on  slavery  since 
my  book  came  out. 

I  can  think  of  one  thing  in  particular  that  I  would  have 
changed,  and  that  is  what  I  wrote  about  slave  religion.  What  I 
wrote  about  slave  religion  was  primarily  two  aspects:  one, 
religion  as  a  technique  of  control,  the  way  the  masters  used 
religion—be  a  good  servant  and  your  reward  will  come  in  heaven. 
And  the  other  side  of  it  was  religion  as  a  vehicle  of  protest 
among  slaves.   There  were  various  signs  of  protest  in  many  of  the 
slave  songs.   It  was  a  way  of  expressing  their  frustrations  and 
their  feelings. 

What  I  didn't  write  about,  and  what  I  would  write  about  at 
great  length  if  I  were  doing  it  over,  is  Christianity  as  a  source 
of  solace.   Christianity  probably  helped  slaves  simply  get  on  with 


their  lives  day  by  day.  The  faith- -even  slaveholders  conceded 
that  we're  all  equal  in  the  sight  of  God,  and  the  virtues  of 
humility,  and  doing  whatever  is  your  lot  in  life,  accepting  it. 
These  must  have  been  very  comforting  thoughts  for  slaves,  it  seems 
to  me.   They  were  by  and  large  deeply  religious,  and  they  had 
adopted  much  of  Christianity.  They  gave  their  own  African  twist 
to  it  in  some  ways,  in  the  way  they  held  their  services  and  so  on. 
But  that's  something  I  didn't  write  about,  and  I  certainly  would 
write  about  it  now. 

Lage:    Well,  there  have  been  more  use  of  sources,  like  the  spirituals- 
looking  at  the  spirituals  as  a  source  of-- 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  used  them  too. 
Lage:    You  did,  you  used  folklore? 

Stampp:   Yes,  I  did  folklore  and  spirituals,  but  I  probably  would  have 
wanted  to  expand  all  of  those  because  of  what  Larry  Levine  has 
written,  and  others.   I  certainly  would  want  to  take  into  account 
some  of  the  things  that  Genovese  wrote  about—relations  between 
masters  and  slaves. 

Lage:    What  about  the  issue  of  how  much  of  African  culture  was  retained? 
Is  that  anything  you  would  change? 

Stampp:   That  I'm  pretty  stubborn  on. 
Lage:    What  are  your  thoughts  on  that? 

Stampp:  Well,  my  generalization  is  that  under  slavery,  it  was  very  hard 

for  blacks  to  retain  much  of  their  African  culture,  especially  in 
areas  where  the  slave  population  was  small.   Probably  in  the 
Gullah  districts  of  South  Carolina,  the  African  traditions 
survived  to  a  much  greater  extent,  that's  true.   The  problem  was 
that  slaves  didn't  have  any  autonomous  organizations.   There  was 
no  such  thing  as  an  autonomous  black  church  in  the  South.   There 
were  no  fraternal  organizations,  there  were  no  cultural 

It  seems  to  me  that  cultural  autonomy  only  came  after 
emancipation,  when  blacks  began  moving  out  of  the  white  churches 
into  their  own  churches.   To  begin  with  at  least,  the  separation 
was  a  voluntary  thing  on  the  part  of  blacks.  They  just  didn't 
want  to  be  preached  to  by  a  white  clergyman.  They  wanted  their 
own  churches,  and  they  got  them. 

Then  there  were  fraternal  organizations  and  other  social 
organizations  that  could  give  blacks  a  feeling  of  community  and  a 


feeling  of  identity  that  they  never  could  have  in  slavery  days. 
But  by  that  time,  much  of  black  culture  was  lost. 

I  might  qualify  a  little  bit;  I  said  they  were  existing  in  a 
kind  of  vacuum  between  two  cultures,  one  of  which  they  were  losing 
and  one  of  which  they  couldn't  really  as  slaves  get  the  total 
benefit  of --that  is,  white  culture.   So  they  were  sort  of  hanging 
between  them. 

I  remember  a  case  of  a  white  who  had  gone  to  Africa  and 
observed  African  dances,  and  came  home  and  tried  to  teach  his 
slaves  African  dances,  and  they  were  embarrassed  and  they  thought 
it  was  funny.  What  is  he  trying  to  do?  They  thought  the  dances 
were  funny,  according  to  him,  in 'any  case.   They  laughed. 

Lage:    Now,  is  that  point  of  view  you've  expressed  a  disputed  one  now? 

Stampp:   Well,  yes.   It  certainly  was  then,  and  still  is.   The 

anthropologist  Melville  Herskovits,  who  wrote  a  book  on  blacks 
[The  Myth  of  the  Negro  Past,  (New  York,  1941)],  always  insisted 
that  African  survivals  were  significant  and—well,  that  there  were 
lots  of  them  in  black  culture.   I  read  his  book. 

Lage:    And  that  was  contemporary  with  yours,  or  before? 

Stampp:   Oh,  no,  that  was  written  back  in  the  1930s  or  forties.   It  was  a 
book  I  read  as  part  of  the  background  reading  I  did  for  my  book. 
I  just  simply  couldn't  see  it.   He  was  probably  the  chief  exponent 
of  the  idea  of  a  very  substantial  part  of  the  African  past 
surviving  in  black  culture  in  slavery  days  and  on  to  the  present 


I  should  have  mentioned  the  influence  of  Gunnar  Myrdal's  An 
American  Dilemma:  The  Negro  Problem  and  Modern  Democracy,  (New 
York,  1941).   I  read  that  before  I  had  decided  to  write  a  book  on 
slavery,  but  I  found  it  highly  instructive.  Myrdal's  book  helped 
to  build  a  foundation  for  my  belief  that  there  were  no  significant 
emotional  or  intellectual  differences  between  blacks  and  whites. 
I  never  meant  that  there  were  no  cultural  differences;  as  a  matter 
of  fact,  that's  one  thing  that  I  got  attacked  for.   In  my  preface, 
you  may  have  read  that  I  had  assumed  that  innately,  there  are  no 
significant  differences  between  blacks  and  white. 

Yes.   You  said  something  about  "They're  white  men  with  black 

Yes,  and  I  did  that  deliberately,  because  that  was  the  criticism 
that  Southerners  made  of  liberal  Northerners:  "You  assume  that 
Negroes  are  just  white  men  with  black  skins,  and  they're  not  white 


men  with  black  skins."  So  I  said,  "Okay,  I'll  take  it  up  and  say 
that."   [looking  through  book] 

Lage:    It's  right  on  the  first  page  of  your  preface. 

Stampp:   Yes.   "I  have  assumed  that  the  slaves  were  merely  ordinary  human 

beings,  that  innately,  Negroes  are,  after  all,  only  white  men  with 
black  skins,  nothing  more,  nothing  less."   [Stanley]  Elkins--! 
think  that  was  rather  unscrupulous  on  his  part—quoted  that 
passage  but  left  out  "innately,"  and  said,  "Stampp  assumes  that 
Negroes  are,  after  all,  only  white  men  with  black  skins,  and 
doesn't  pay  any  attention  to  cultural  differences."  Then  a 
sociologist  picked  it  up  from  Elkins  and  spread  it  further,  that 
Stampp  said  they're  all  alike,  culturally. 

So  finally,  I  had  to  write  a  footnote:  "I  did  not,  of  course, 
assume  that  there  had  been  or  are  today  no  cultural  differences 
between  white  and  black  Americans,"  and  so  on. 

Lage:    You  were  talking  about  physically,  genetically-- 

Stampp:   Yes.   Their  innate  characteristics,  genetic  characteristics.   I 
probably  should  have  made  another  qualification:  I  know  that 
blacks  and  whites  have  different  degrees  of  susceptibility  to 
malaria  and  to  sickle-cell  anemia  and  so  on.   Anyway,  that  was,  in 
my  opinion,  kind  of  a  silly  controversy. 

Lage:  Did  you  get  heat  on  that  remark  from  black  nationalists  also? 

Stampp:  No,  not  that  I  can  remember. 

Lage:  It  seems  like  it  would-- 

Stampp:  No,  I  do  not  recall  their  objecting  to  that. 

Lage:  They  read  the  "innately"  part. 

Stampp:  They  read  the  "innately"  part,  yes. 

So  I  think  that  takes  care  of  The  Peculiar  Institution.   Do 
you  want  to  ask  me  more  questions? 


The  Morrison  Chair.  1957 

Lage:    Well,  not  about  The  Peculiar  Institution.   I  was  going  to  ask  if 
the  reception  it  received  had  any  effect  on  the  fact  that  you  got 
the  Morrison  chair  the  next  year.  How  did  that  come  about? 

Stampp:   Oh,  I  think  so.   Oh,  yes,  I  forgot  about  that.  Well,  about  the 
Morrison  chair:  I  think  I  told  you  that  at  one  point  Hicks  had  a 
candidate,  one  of  his  students. 

Lage:    We  talked  about  that  after  we  had  finished  taping. 

Stampp:   Well,  John  Hicks  had  told  me  shortly  after  I  came  here  that  he  was 
thinking  about  retirement—he  did  retire  in  1957--that  he  would 
like  his  former  student,  George  Mowry,  to  replace  him.  Mowry 
taught  at  UCLA  for  some  time  and  then  went  to  Chapel  Hill. 

Lage:    Is  that  the  way  it  usually  happens,  that  one  chair  brings  in  the 
next  chair? 

Stampp:   No,  he  was  simply  expressing  a  wish  at  that  time.   He  didn't  say, 
"I'm  going  to  bring  him  here."  He  said,  "I  would  like  to  see  my 
former  student  have  the  chair."  I  could  understand  that. 

Anyway,  the  question  came  up  when  my  slavery  book  was 
published.   By  that  time,  I  had  published  three  books,  and  I  had 
been  told  that  one,  And  the  War  Came,  had  been  shortlisted  for  the 
Pulitzer  prize.  Whether  you  liked  The  Peculiar  Institution  or 
not,  it  was  an  important  book.   I  remember,  I  think  I  said  to  Carl 
Bridenbaugh  when  the  question  came  up,  "I  don't  see  why  a 
professor  at  Berkeley  should  never  be  considered  for  a  chair."  I 
think  one  never  had  been.   They  always  had  brought  in  someone  from 
the  outside. 

Lage:    I  see,  so  that  was  the  tradition. 

Stampp:   No  one  who  taught  at  Berkeley  got  a  chair,  to  the  best  of  my 

knowledge,  in  this  department.   I  said,  "I  think  that  I'd  like  to 
be  considered."  I  was  not  saying  I  should  have  it,  but  I  would 
certainly  like  to  have  my  name  on  the  list.   I  think  that  was  sort 
of  a  surprise.   Bridenbaugh,  as  I  remember  said,  "Well,  yes,  why 
not?"  And  I  remember,  too,  thinking  that  if  they  decided  they 
weren't  going  to  consider  me  for  it,  I  would  go  somewhere  else.   I 
didn't  tell  anyone  that,  but  I  thought,  If  that's  the  way  it's 
going  to  be  here,  I'll  go  elsewhere. 


And  who  makes  those  decisions? 



Stampp : 




Stampp : 

Well,  the  full  professors--not  the  associates  but  the  full 
professors  this  time,  I  believe,  made  the  decision.   It  was  not, 
as  in  the  Bridenbaugh  case,  when  Sontag  and  Hicks  and  I  don't  know 
who  else,  maybe  Kerner,  got  together  and  decided  to  bring 
Bridenbaugh  here  without  a  formal  meeting  of  professors  in  the 
department . 

Yes,  just  the  chairs  among  themselves. 

Yes.  And  when  I  got  the  chair,  which  I  did  in  1957,  I  was 
determined—partly  because  I  knew  that  Henry  May  was  as  eligible 
for  it  as  I  was,  but  I  was  older  and  got  here  a  little  sooner— 
that  these  chairs  were  not  going  to  have  this  elevated  status  any 
more.  And  they  didn't  after  that. 

This  elevated  kind  of  decision-making. 

Well,  the  idea  that  they  were  the  lords  of  creation.  I  didn't 
think  that  made  sense.  They  haven't  since  then,  and  I  think  I 
contributed  something  to  getting  that  stopped. 

So  what  are  the  benefits  of  the  chair? 

Does  it  give  you  a  higher 

It  used  to,  back  in  the  days  of  Paxson,  Hicks,  and  Sontag.   They 
used  to  have  a  considerably  higher  salary,  above-scale  salary. 
That's  not  so  any  more.  As  far  as  I  know,  there  may  well  be 
members  in  the  department  without  chairs  who  are  paid  more  than 
somebody  with  a  chair.   The  only  thing  that  the  chair  gave  you  is 
a  name,  a  title,  and  that's  nice,  I  guess,  and  research  money. 
The  chair  I  held,  the  Morrison  chair— the  Margaret  Byrne  chair, 
the  one  that  Henry  May  and  Bridenbaugh  held,  had  more  money—it 
paid  part  of  your  salary,  but  it  also  left  money  for  research. 

You  could  hire  assistants? 

Yes.   I  can't  remember  when  it  began,  but  I  began  getting  $2,000  a 
year  for  anything  related  to  teaching  or  research.   I  could  hire  a 
research  assistant,  I  could  use  money  to  go  to  a  convention,  that 
sort  of  thing. 

Could  you  travel  to  research  sources? 

Yes,  I  could  do  that  too,  I  could  travel  to  research  sources,  and 
it  has  continued  for  me  since  I've  retired;  I  still  have  $2,000  a 
year  that  I  can  use.   I  got  my  computer,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  on 
my  research  money.   It  helped. 

Lage:    Oh,  good.   I  didn't  realize  that  benefit  continued  at  retirement. 


Stampp:   Well,  it  does.   I  use  it  to  buy  books  sometimes.   I  will  certainly 
use  it  when  I  go  to  Little  Rock,  Arkansas,  next  fall,  to  pay  my 
expenses  there. 

Lage:    Good.   Okay,  well,  we  were  going  to  talk  about  being  department 
chair,  but  maybe  we  should  save  that? 

Stampp:   I  want  to  say  something  about  going  to  Munich. 
Lage:    Okay. 

Stampp:   In  1957,  I  had  a  Fulbright  lectureship,  and  then  in  1958,  I  had  an 
invitation  to  give  the  Commonwealth  Lectures  at  the  University  of 
London.   Then  I  will  get  to  my  acting  chairmanship,  which  I  will 
get  through  very  quickly. 

Fulbright  Lecturer  at  the  University  of  Munich.  1957 

Stampp:   I  want  to  talk  about  going  to  Munich.   Coming  from  the  background 
I  had—mine  was  not  in  an  affluent  family—and  being  an  American 
historian  and  thinking  about  who  went  to  Europe  when  I  was  a  kid- 
it  never  occurred  to  me  that  I  would  ever  go  to  Europe  in  my  life. 
That  had  some  impact  on  my  lack  of  interest  in  foreign  languages. 
In  1956,  I  had  a  letter  from  Howard  K.  Beale  who  was  the  Fulbright 
lecturer  at  the  University  of  Munich  in  the  Amerika  Institut. 

I  had  got  to  know  Howard  Beale  quite  well  when  I  taught  at 
University  of  Maryland  because  he  was  working  in  the  Library  of 
Congress.   He  was  on  leave  from  the  University  of  North  Carolina. 
He  was  a  pacifist,  a  Quaker,  an  important  figure  in  the  American 
Friends  Service  Committee,  and  he  was  one  of  the  people  who  was 
involved  in  trying  to  get  young  Japanese  people  off  the  West  Coast 
into  jobs. 

Lage:     I  think  you  might  have  mentioned  him. 

Stampp:   Yes.  We  had  a  Japanese  secretary  in  our  department  at  Maryland, 
and  it  was  Howard  Beale  who  was  responsible  for  that.  Anyway,  I 
had  known  him  for  some  time,  and  he  was  a  good  friend.   He  wrote 
to  me  and  said,  "You  ought  to  apply  for  this  job.   The  Amerika 
Institut  is  for  American  studies.   The  teaching  is  in  English,  and 
the  students  in  your  seminar  will  write  papers  in  English  and  so 
on,  so  it's  something  you  can  do."  That's  the  first  time  I  ever 
thought  about  going  to  Europe . 


So  I  applied  and  got  it.   In  April  1957,  I  took  my  wife  and 
family  to  Munich. 

Lage:    They've  been  taken  lots  of  places  so  far,  different  schools  and-- 

Stampp:  They've  been  taken  lots  of  places,  right.  I  agreed  to  teach  only 
one  term,  so  I  went  in  late  April,  and  I  was  finished  teaching  in 
late  July.  It  was  a  wonderful  experience. 

Lage:    Did  your  German  background  make  you  feel  any  connection,  or  was 
that  too  remote? 

Stampp:   I'll  tell  you,  that  was  one  reason  why  I  was  particularly  pleased 
to  go  to  Munich.   I  was  puzzled.  One  heard  all  these  horrible 
things  about  Germans.   They  didn't  sound  like  the  Germans  I  knew 
in  Milwaukee.   I  really  wanted  to  go  to  Germany.   I  wanted  to  get 
to  know  some  German  people,  as  I  did,  and  some  German  students, 
and  find  out.  Munich  was  a  wonderful  place  to  go.   It's  an 
interesting  city.   It  was  still  bombed  out  from  the  war.   The 
cathedral  had  no  roof  on  it  when  I  came  in  '57,  and  the  national 
theater,  the  opera  house,  was  just  a  shambles,  just  a  wreck.   The 
downtown  still  had  lots  of  one-story  temporary  buildings,  and  all 
over  the  city,  building  was  going  on,  apartments  were  being 
rebuilt  and  so  on.  We  lived  in  an  apartment  that  somehow  survived 
the  war;  we  had  a  nice  apartment. 

I  found  it  certainly  very  broadening.   My  view  of  the  world  I 
think  changed  rather  considerably  as  a  result  of  that  first  trip 
to  Europe.  We  traveled  a  lot,  we  managed  to  get  to  Salzburg  and 
Vienna,  and  one  big  trip  to  Italy.  Lots  of  trips  around  Germany, 
Switzerland,  and  eventually  we  had  a  big  tour  of  France;  we  went 
to  England.   We  bought  a  car  over  there,  so  I  had  to  drive. 

Lage:    How  were  your  foreign  languages? 

Stampp:  My  French  is  no  better  than  kitchen  French  and  restaurant  French, 
and  that's  about  it.   I  had  no  French  at  all.   I  learned  to  read 
French  on  my  own. 

Lage:    So  you  could  pass  your-- 
Stampp:   So  I  could  pass  my  French  exam. 


Stampp:   My  parents  never  tried  to  teach  me  German,  but  I  learned  a  little 
as  a  child,  just  hearing  them.  My  sister  and  I  used  to  try  to 
break  their  code  by  learning  what  they  were  saying.   I  picked  it 


up  fairly  well  in  Germany  that  time,  but  I  did  lecture  in  English, 
and  my  seminar  was  in  English. 

It  was  very  interesting  that  the  first  year  I  was  there,  in 
'57--I  went  back  twice  after  that--I  had  about  eighteen  students 
in  my  lectures .   I  found  it  very  hard  to  get  them  to  talk  about 
things.   They  really  were  very  subdued.   I  remember  one  time 
saying,  "Look,  I've  been  talking  to  you  for  a  long  time.   Surely 
you  must  be  reacting  somehow  to  these  things."  I  remember  one 
student  raised  his  hand  and  said,  "Tell  us  about  the  Panama 
Canal,"  which  was  one  of  the  not  admirable  episodes  in  American 
history,  but  he  finally  said,  in  effect,  "You're  not  perfect 
either."   [laughter]   "Tell  us  about  the  Panama  Canal." 

Lage:    We  would  have  a  lot  to  tell  them  about  where  we  weren't  perfect. 

Stampp:   Yes.   So  I  told  them  about  the  Panama  Canal,  the  whole  sordid 
story  about  how  we  got  Panama. 

Then  I  met  a  student  whose  father  was  a  professor  of 
philosophy  at  one  of  the  German  universities,  I  can't  remember  at 
the  moment  which  one.   I  got  to  know  him  very  well.   He  had  been 
living  in  Stuttgart  during  the  war,  and  without  any  emotion  or 
bitterness  or  anything,  he  said,  "I  finally  had  to  be  moved  out 
because  the  bombers  were  coming  day  and  night,  so  I  was  moved  out 
of  Stuttgart."  He  was  very  much  interested  in  American  culture, 
and  eventually  he  came  to  the  United  States  and  got  a  job  teaching 
European  history  in  some  school  in  the  Midwest.   I  found  it 

Finally  the  students  broke  down  near  the  end  and  invited  me 
to  a  party  they  gave,  where  we  had  beer  and  popcorn.   I  thought 
this  was  about  as  American  as  you  could  get—the  popcorn,  anyway-- 
and  that  was  a  nice,  easy,  relaxed  evening. 

Lage:    Didn't  they  have  a  different  relationship  with  professors, 
perhaps,  than  we  do? 

Stampp:   Oh,  very  different.   I  can  tell  you  that  at  the  University  of 

Munich,  there  was  one  professor  of  modern  history,  one  professor. 
His  name  was  Schnable.  He  had  a  so-called  seminar  with  eighty 
students  in  it,  if  you  can  imagine  a  seminar  with  that  many,  and 
the  students  were  terrified  of  this  man.   I  remember  one  student 
saying,  "His  voice  doesn't  carry  very  far,  and  I  can't  hear  him  in 
the  back."  I  said,  "Well,  why  don't  you  tell  him  you  can't  hear 
him?"  He  didn't  have  the  courage  to  do  that. 

That  was  my  impression—a  very  subdued  group  of  students. 
Very  different  ten  years  later,  eleven  years  later,  when  I  went 


back.   These  were  students  who  had  got  their  bearings  and  were  not 
being  intimidated  any  more  by  an  American  professor. 

The  travel  was  wonderful  and  getting  to  know  some  German 
people  as  we  did  on  a  social  basis,  so  we  could  talk  about  things. 

Lage:    Were  they  willing  to  talk  about  the  war  and  the  Jewish  question? 

Stampp:   Yes.   You  would  have  to  get  to  know  them  fairly  well.   There  was 
one  couple  in  particular  that  we  got  to  know  very  well,  so  that 
they  would  come  over  and  sit,  and  we  would  drink  a  glass  or  a 
bottle  of  wine  at  night  together  and  talk.   Her  brother,  the 
brother  of  the  wife,  had  been  in  the  German  Army  during  the  war, 
and  I  would  suppose  that  he  was  a  pro-Nazi.  After  the  war,  he 
committed  suicide.   I  met  their  mother  too,  a  lovely  lady,  who 
probably  was  not  a  Nazi. 

The  daughter  was  interesting,  too,  because  she  was  a  teenager 
during  the  immediate  postwar  period.   She  told  me  of  some  pretty 
awful  things  about  how  she  survived  in  these  postwar  years,  and 
her  relations  with  Americans  in  Munich  and  so  on. 

So  it  was  a  wonderful  experience,  it  really  was. 
Lage:    Very  good.   And  it  was  only  the  first  trip. 

Stampp:   That  was  the  first  trip.   I  went  back  again  in  1968  and  then  again 
in  1972,  and  that  was  a  very  different  experience.   There  were 
student  rebels  in  '68. 

Lage:    Shall  we  deal  with  that  after  we  talk  about  our  own  student 
rebels?   [laughter] 

Stampp:   Oh,  I  think  so.   We've  got  to  wait—we're  going  to  get  to  our 

student  rebels  next  time.   I've  got  through  Munich,  I  don't  need 
to  say  much  more . 

Then  I  got  the  invitation  to  give  the  Commonwealth  lectures 
at  the  University  of  London  in  '60,  and  at  that  time,  I  was  acting 
chairman.   Then  I  got  the  Harmsworth  professorship  at  Oxford  in 
196 1-1 62,  and  it  was  after  I  came  back  that  things  broke  out  in 

Lage:    So  we'll  start  with  that  next  time,  and  then  we'll  get  into  the 
sixties  in  Berkeley. 


Commonwealth  Funds  Lectures,  University  of  London.  1960 
[Interview  7:  May  28,  1996]  ## 

Lage:    Today  is  May  28,  1996,  and  we're  on  our  seventh  session  with  Ken 
Stampp.   Last  time,  we  left  you  in  Munich,  or  getting  home  from 
Munich  and  the  Fulbright  lectureship.  We're  going  to  start  with 
another  international  trip. 

Stampp:   Yes.  After  I  finished  in  Munich,  I  took  my  family  on  a  tour.   Did 
I  talk  about  that?  We  toured  France  and  Belgium  and  the 
Netherlands  and  England. 

Lage:    Right,  and  your  first  European  experience. 

Stampp:   Then,  suddenly,  another  invitation  to  go  to  Europe  came  in  rather 
quickly.   In  1958,  I  was  invited  to  come  in  January,  1960,  to  give 
the  Commonwealth  Funds  lectures  at  the  University  of  London,  at 
University  College,  London.   I  agreed  to  do  that.   I  was  to  give 
seven  lectures.   I  decided  to  give  them  on  Reconstruction,  the 
post-Civil  War  Reconstruction  period. 

Lage:    Did  they  make  a  request  at  all  on  topic? 

Stampp:   No,  I  could  lecture  on  anything,  and  this  is  what  I  chose  to 

lecture  on.   I  prepared  the  lectures  in  1959.   I  must  have  started 
early  in  1959.   The  lectures  really  grew  out  of  the  lectures  I  was 
giving  in  Berkeley  to  my  upper  division  course  in  the  old  South 
and  the  Civil  War  and  Reconstruction  period.   I  had  them  all 
prepared  before  I  went  to  London.   I  was  to  be  there  from  mid- 
January  to  mid-February.   I  remember  preparing  them  in  the  summer 
of  1959.   Dick  Hofstadter  was  here,  and  he  was  living  with  us.   It 
was  a  nice  time.   It  was  a  nice  summer,  and  I  was  working  in  my 
study  which  opened  onto  a  patio  where  Hofstadter  was  out  reading. 
I  can't  remember  why  he  was  here,  he  must  have  been  giving  some 
lectures  somewhere.  Anyway,  it  was  a  nice  time. 

Lage:    Was  there  interchange  on  those  lectures? 

Stampp:   Oh,  I  kept  going  out  and  reading  bits  to  him  that  I  liked,  and  he 


Acting  Chairman  in  a  Growing  Department.  1959-60 

Stampp:   Then  in  the  spring  of  1959,  Delmer  Brown,  who  was  chairman--!  was 
vice  chairman- -told  me  that  he  was  going  to  take  off  for  Japan  in 
the  summer  of  1959,  and  I  suddenly  found  myself  acting  chairman  of 
the  History  Department,  which  was  something  I  had  not  anticipated. 

Lage:    So  Delmer 's  trip  wasn't  something  very  long  planned,  it  sounds 

Stampp:   It  might  have  been  planned  earlier  than  that.   In  any  case,  I 

certainly  knew  by  the  spring  of  '59  that  I  was  going  to  have  to  be 
acting  chairman  the  next  year.  And  so  from  July  1,  1959,  to  July 
1,  1960,  I  was  acting  chairman  of  the  History  Department. 

It  was  an  exciting  year,  because  the  History  Department  was 
still  growing.   It  was  during  that  year,  '59- '60,  that  we 
completed  negotiations  with  Richard  Herr  to  come  in  the  fall  of 
1960,  and  also  Carl  Schorske  came  up  and  gave  a  stunning  lecture 
on  Vienna  at  the  turn  of  the  century.  We  invited  him  to  come. 
Henry  May  had  been  much  interested  in  Carl  Schorske  for  a  long 
time,  had  known  him,  and  we  had  a  meeting  and  voted  to  invite  Carl 
Schorske,  and  he  came. 

Lage:    Does  the  department  chairman  have  a  stronger  voice  than  other 

Stampp:   No,  the  chairman  presides  at  tenure  committee  meetings,  but  he  has 
one  vote,  and  he  can  talk,  but  that's  all.   I  suppose  if  he  wants 
to  throw  his  weight  around  or  to  be  mean  or  something,  he  would  be 
able  to  do  that.   I  know  that  Delmer  didn't  do  that,  and  I 
certainly  didn't  do  that.   I  simply  presided. 

Then  the  same  year,  Hans  Rosenberg--!  can't  remember  whether 
he  was  at  the  center  at  Stanford,  but  he  was  out  here  in  any  case 
--he  came  and  talked.   We  had  a  new  chair,  and  we  offered  the 
chair  to  Hans  Rosenberg,  and  he  came.   So  all  of  that  in  one  year. 
I  just  happened  to  be  chairman,  but  these  were  three  major 
appointments.   I  think  Dick  Herr  was  brought  in  as  an  associate 
professor,  and  Schorske  as  a  full  professor,  and  Hans  Rosenberg 
the  holder  of  a  new  chair  in  the  department.   So  in  that  sense,  it 
was  an  exciting  year. 


Hans  Rosenberg,  Carl  Schorske 




Stampp ; 

Stampp : 

Was  there  anything  controversial  about  the  three  of  those? 

I  can't  remember  any  controversy  at  all.   I  think  they  were  all 
brought  in  unanimously.   I  don't  remember  any  trouble  at  all. 

Things  seem  to  have  been  resolved,  in  some  ways. 

Right.  Well,  they  both  were  distinguished  people.   Hans  Rosenberg 
had  been  teaching  at  Brooklyn  College  for  years  before  he  came 
here  and  had  trained  a  lot  of  bright  undergrads  who  had  gone  off 
to  graduate  school  and  were  distinguished  people  in  the  profession 
by  that  time .  Many  of  them  remembered  Hans  Rosenberg  as  the  man 
who  inspired  them  to  go  on  to  graduate  work.   Hans  turned  out  to 
be  a  very,  very  important,  solid  member  of  the  department.   His 
judgments  were  very  good,  and  he  was  very  conscientious,  and  he 
read  the  writings  of  his  colleagues,  and  very  soon  became  really  a 
crucial  member  of  the  department  until  his  retirement. 

Those  are  things  you  don't  know  when  you're  hiring  someone,  most 

No,  but  he  had  such  a  long  record  of  teaching  and  scholarship.   He 
was  a  distinguished  scholar  before  he  came. 

Schorske  was  a  little  less  that.   He  had  published  his 
doctoral  dissertation,  which  was  very  good,  and  he  was  to  publish 
a  big  book  on  Vienna,  the  cultural  and  intellectual  history  of 
Vienna  at  the  turn  of  the  century.   Carl  was  slow,  and  as  a  matter 
of  fact,  he  never  did  write  that  book.   He  wrote  lots  of  articles, 
and  he  brought  together  the  articles  in  a  book.   He  was  a 
brilliant  teacher,  brilliant  lecturer,  so  he  was  a  good  addition 
to  the  department. 

He  got  involved  in  campus  life  also,  it  seems  to  me. 

He  got  involved  in  campus  life, 
sympathizer  of  the  FSM. 

that ' s  right ,  very  much  a 

During  the  year,  it  was  a  terribly  busy  year  for  me,  because 
in  addition  to  being  acting  chairman,  I  was  writing  these 
lectures.   In  the  middle  of  it  I  went  off  for  four  weeks,  from 
mid- January  to  mid-February,  to  give  the  lectures  in  London. 

There  was  another  case  of  someone  whom  we  were  going  to  bring 
in  in  European  history,  and  that  one  was  controversial.   By  a 
split  vote—Stanley  Mellon  his  name  was--by  a  split  vote,  the 









department  did  vote  to  bring  in  Stanley  Mellon.   The  case  then 
went  to  the  administration,  to  the  dean  who  then  submits  it  to  the 
budget  committee  of  the  university,  and  the  action  was  taken  while 
I  was  in  London.   One  of  the  people  who  was  very  strongly  opposed 
to  bringing  in  Stanley  Mellon  was  Ray  Sontag,  and  I  think  that 
Sontag  probably  spoke  to  the  dean  and  whoever  else  he  knew  he 
could  speak  to.   I  heard  while  I  was  in  London  that  the 
administration  had  turned  down  the  Mellon  appointment,  and  I  was 
furious . 

Was  it  the  administration  or  the  budget  committee? 

It  ultimately  was  the  budget  committee,  I'm  not  sure,  but  in  any 
case,  it  was  turned  down.   I  was  in  London,  and  I  was  furious.   I 
had  a  phone  call  from  Nick  Riasanovsky,  who  I  think  was  vice 
chairman  that  year,  acting  vice  chairman,  and  I  remember  being  so 
angry  that  day  that  I  went  on  a  long  walk  in  London,  went  to  St. 
Paul's  church  and  spent  time  in  St.  Paul's  cooling  off.   I  finally 
went  back  and  thought,  well,  maybe  I  could  resign  as  acting 
chairman,  but  I  thought  better  of  that  and  didn't  do  it. 

Do  you  think  if  you  had  been  on  the  scene,  it  might  have  gone 
differently,  or  was  it  just  one  of  those  things? 

I  don't  know.   I  didn't  have  the  power  that  Ray  Sontag  did  in 
administration  circles,  I  know  that.   In  any  case,  Stanley  Mellon 
didn't  in  the  long  run,  I  must  say,  turn  out  to  be  quite  the 
scholar  we  expected  him  to  be,  and  perhaps  Ray  Sontag  was  right; 
but  at  this  time,  he  looked  good.   He  was  here,  he  was  teaching 
here,  and  he  looked  very  good. 

He  was  a  visiting  professor? 
Yes,  or  associate,  or  whatever. 

Do  you  know  what  the  objections  turned  on? 
scholarship,  or  something  else? 

Was  it  his 

Presumably  it  would  be  his  scholarship.   His  private  life  was  a 
little  up  and  down,  and  some  people  might  have  had  objection  to 
him  on  that  score.   In  retrospect,  I  don't  feel  that  we  suffered  a 
great  loss  when  he  didn't  come,  but  it  didn't  look  to  me,  and  to 
lots  of  others,  didn't  look  that  way  at  the  time.   One  can  make 

My  year  as  acting  chairman  was  probably--!  think  it  was  an 
ordinary  year.   In  the  fall,  I  was  still  writing  these  lectures 
for  the  University  of  London,  so  I  had  a  schedule  which  put  me  on 
campus  and  in  the  chairman's  office  Monday,  Wednesday,  and  Friday. 


Stampp ; 


Stampp : 

Stampp ; 


On  Tuesday  and  Thursday,  I  did  not  go  on  campus.   I  remember  one 
of  my  colleagues  being  very  indignant  about  my  not  being  there  on 
a  Tuesday  and  a  funny  remark  he  made.  He  came  into  the  chairman's 
office  and  asked  the  secretary  where  I  was,  and  she  said,  "Well, 
he's  not  on  campus  on  Tuesdays,"  and  he  said,  "That's  why  we're 
falling  behind  the  Russians."   [laughter] 

That's  wonderful. 

Anyway,  I  just  felt  I  had  to  do  it  that  way  in  order  to  get  these 
lectures  finished. 

My  feeling  about  being  chairman--!  think  almost  any  person 
who  has  been  chairman—was  that  one  got  to  know  more  about  one's 
colleagues  than  one  really  wanted  to  know.   The  chairman  hears  all 
the  gripes  and  rivalries.   I'm  not  going  to  mention  any  names- 
there  were  two  historians  in  the  same  field  of  interest  who  would 
come  in  to  me  regularly.   They  were  there  every  week,  each 
criticizing  the  other  for  certain  inadequacies. 

In  their  academics? 

In  their  academics,  in  their  background  and  their  training.   First 
I  would  hear  one,  and  then  I  would  hear  the  other.   They  both  had 
tenure,  and  there  was  no  point  to  all  this.   It  was  enough  to  make 
me  decide  that  I  didn't  want  to  be  chairman  again.   I  didn't  think 
I  was  cut  out  to  be  a  chairman  for  three  years. 

That  was  the  usual  term? 

I  was  asked  later,  and  I  said  no, 
shirking  as  a  result. 

and  I  guess  I  was  sort  of 

Was  it  more  that  kind  of  not  wanting  to  get  into  the  personal 
aspects  of  it  all,  or  was  it  a  drain  on  your  scholarship? 

Well,  it  was  partly  both,  and  in  fact  a  selfish  decision  on  my 
part.  I  was  asked  again  to  be  chairman,  and  I  said,  "No,  I've 
done  it  once.  I've  been  the  vice  chairman  for  years,"  under 
Delmer  Brown,  and  I  think  George  Guttridge,  and  Jim  King;  when 
Carl  Schorske  became  chairman  in  1962,  I  was  vice  chairman  for 

He  became  chairman  rather  quickly. 

Yes,  he  came  in  '60,  and  in  the  fall  of  '62  he  took  over  the 
chairmanship  of  the  department.   So  that  was  the  end  of  my  career 
as  a  department  chairman. 


Now,  in  London--!  had  four  wonderful  weeks  there.   I  had  all 
my  lectures  prepared,  and  I  delivered  my  lectures  at  five  in  the 
afternoon.   So  I  had  the  whole  day  to  explore  London,  and  I  did, 
took  full  advantage  of  the  theater;  I  was  at  the  theater  fourteen 
nights  out  of  the  twenty-eight  I  was  there,  the  ballet  or  the 
opera  or  the  theater.   So  that  was  great.   I  was  there  alone, 
incidentally,  and  stayed  in  a  hotel,  moderately  priced  hotel. 



Stampp:   Some  time  before  that,  in  1959  again  probably,  I  had  an  invitation 
to  be  Harmsworth  Professor  of  American  History  at  Oxford  in  1961- 
1962.   I  know  I  had  it  by  the  time  I  was  in  London  in  January- 
February,  because  I  went  up  to  Oxford  and  talked  with  the 
incumbent  Harmsworth  Professor  about  housing  and  what  it  was  like, 
so  I  had  spent  a  day  in  Oxford  at  that  time. 

Lage:    Would  these  invitations  come  on  the  strength  of  your  Peculiar 
Institution  book? 

Stampp:   I  don't  know.   At  that  time  at  Oxford,  there  was  a  special  field 
in  American  history,  but  the  field  was  defined  as  "slavery  and 
secession:  1848  to  1862."  The  dates  made  no  sense  at  all,  and  one 
was  supposed  to  lecture  on  the  background  of  the  Civil  War  and  the 
Civil  War,  but  stop  apparently  in  the  middle  of  the  Civil  War, 
1862,  which  made  no  sense.   But  that's  the  way  the  field  was 

That  was  all  the  American  history  that  was  taught  at  Oxford 
at  that  time,  and  that  had  been  introduced  way  back  in  the  1920s. 
I  think  the  first  Harmsworth  Professor  was  Samuel  Eliot  Morison, 
and  a  lot  of  distinguished  historians  had  it  after  that. 

So  I  had  accepted  the  invitation  to  come,  and  I  was  to  get 
there  in  September  of  1961.  My  intention  at  that  time  was  to 
bring  my  children  and  my  wife.   When  I  was  in  Oxford  in  1960,  I 
was  looking  for  a  school  for  my  daughter,  and  I  found  a  school 
where  she  could  go. 

Something  else  happened  that  year,  1960,  early  in  the 
spring,  it  must  have  been  March.   I  was  a  member  of  the  nominating 
committee  of  the  American  Historical  Association,  and  we  had  a 
meeting  in  Washington.   It  was  that  committee  that  decided  to 
nominate  Carl  Bridenbaugh  as  president  of  the  American  Historical 
Association,  and  he  would  become  vice  president,  I  think,  in  1961 


--I  may  be  off  a  year  on  these  dates—and  then  he  would  become 
president  in  1962.  That  meant  his  presidential  address  would  be 
at  the  meeting  in  December—it  must  have  been  1962. 

Lage:    Was  that  something  you  supported,  then,  being  on  the  nominating 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  think  that  I  put  in  his  name  for  it. 

A  Marriage  Ends 

Stampp:   Now,  I'm  coming  to  the  summer  of  1960.   I  am  going  to  leave  some 
things  out,  private  things,  but  that's  when  my  marriage  broke  up. 
My  wife  and  I  separated  on  September  1,  1960,  and  that  changed  my 
plans  for  '61- '62,  because  that  meant  she  was  not  coming  with  me 
to  Oxford.   I  tried  to  persuade  my  children  to  come  with  me,  but 
they  decided  not  to. 

Lage:    They  were  fairly  young  still,  weren't  they? 

Stampp:  Well,  they  were  eighteen  and  fifteen.  My  son  was  eighteen  and  my 
daughter  was  fifteen  by  then,  so  they  weren't  that  young.  My  son 
was  finishing  high  school. 

Anyway,  I  moved  into  an  apartment  in  Berkeley  for  the  year 
September  '60  to  August  '61. 

Lage:    Was  divorce  less  common  in  academic  circles  then  than  it  was 

Stampp:   There  had  been  divorces  on  the  Berkeley  faculty,  and  some  of  them 
were  rather  sensational  ones  in  one  way  or  another,  but  there 
hadn't  been  a  divorce  in  the  History  Department  until  way  back  in 
the  1930s.   The  only  one  I  knew  about  was—actually,  I  think  he 
ultimately  became  a  member  of  the  department,  but  I  think  he  was  a 
graduate  student  at  the  time  of  his  divorce. 

So  it  was  not  the  way  a  divorce  would  be  handled  or  treated 
in  the  department  today.   I'm  not  going  to  talk  about  it  very 
much,  but  I  did  have  a  lot  of  trouble  with  some  colleagues  over 
the  divorce. 

Lage:    Really?   Disapproving  of  this? 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  lost  several  friends  as  a  result  of  the  separation  and 

divorce,  and  I  had  to  talk  to  a  couple  of  them.   I  remember  one, 



who  was  in  Paris  that  year,  wrote  a  letter  and  told  me  that  I  owed 
it  to  my  friends  to  explain  this  extraordinary  thing.   I  wrote 
back  and  said  I'm  not  going  to  do  any  explaining. 

Now,  one  other  thing  that  came  up  during  the  year  of  my 
chairmanship  that  I  should  mention,  and  that  is  we  had  a  young 
assistant  professor  in  the  department  named  Richard  Drinnon.   I 
got  to  know  him  very  well,  I  liked  him  very  much,  he  was  a  very 
good  teacher,  I  thought.   He  was  an  anarchist,  he  was  an 
intellectual  anarchist,  and  just  as  harmless  as  anyone  could  be. 

What  was  his  field? 

Stampp:   American  history.   I'm  trying  to  remember  what  field  he  actually 
gave  his  lectures  in.   I  can't  remember.   It  might  have  been 
recent  American  history  at  that  time;  probably  was.   He  had 
written  a  biography  of  Emma  Goldman,  the  famous  anarchist,  which  I 
thought  was  quite  good.   He  came  up  for  tenure  the  year  that  I  was 
chairman,  and  this  was  very  painful  to  me.   I  presided,  and  the 
vote  of  the  department--!  can't  remember  what  the  vote  was—but 
the  majority  voted  against  giving  him  tenure.   I  have  no  idea  to 
what  degree  his  political  orientation  had  something  to  do  with  it. 
I'm  sure  it  didn't  in  most  cases,  but  they  were  dubious  about  his 

He  was  very,  as  you  could  imagine,  very  popular  with  radical 
students  on  campus,  and  they  made  a  fuss  about  it.   Dick  didn't 
make  a  fuss  about  it.   I  had  the  job  of  going  to  Dick  and  telling 
him  that  he  was  not  going  to  be  promoted,  and  it  made  me  very 
unhappy.   That  was  a  great  disappointment  to  me  that  year. 

Lage:    Did  you  feel  that  his  scholarship  was  borderline? 

Stampp:   I  thought  it  was  good  enough  to  get  tenure.   I  suppose,  once  again 
in  retrospect,  he  didn't  turn  out  to  be  one  of  the  great  scholars 
even  in  the  context  of  his  political  orientation.   He  went  off  and 
taught  at  a  small  college  in  Pennsylvania  and  had  a  good  career 
there,  and  I  saw  him  occasionally.   Incidentally,  the  year  of  my 
separation  from  my  wife—the  divorce  didn't  come  through  until  a 
year  later--!  spent  a  lot  of  time  with  the  Drinnons.   This  was  one 
couple  that—maybe  they  didn't  know  my  first  wife--I  felt  very 
comfortable  with,  so  I  saw  a  great  deal  of  them.   I  was  there  a 


Collaborating  on  an  American  History  Textbook 

Stampp:   During  the  year  '60- '61,  while  I  was  living  in  my  apartment,  I 

think  I  had  a  sabbatical  in  the  spring  term.   I  stayed  here.   By 
that  time--I  have  to  back  up  a  bit--I  had  agreed  with  some 
reluctance  to  be  a  collaborator  in  a  textbook,  an  American  history 
textbook.   I  had  decided  several  years  earlier.   I  had  been  asked 
by  Knopf  to  join  three  of  my  friends,  Frank  Freidel,  T.  Harry 
Williams,  and  Dick  Current,  in  writing  a  textbook,  and  I  thought  I 
had  made  the  decision  for  good- -I  said  no. 

Lage:    This  would  have  been  for  high  school,  or  college? 

Stampp:   No,  this  was  a  college  textbook.   It's  up  on  the  shelf  here.   I'll 
say  a  little  bit  about  it.   This  is  probably  the  time  to  bring  it 
up,  though,  because  in  1958,  Harcourt  Brace  got  the  idea  of  asking 
six  historians,  C.  Vann  Woodward,  Ed  Morgan,  Bruce  Catton,  John 
Blum—Morgan,  Blum,  and  Woodward  were  all  at  Yale,  and  Bruce 
Catton  was  the  editor  of  the  American  Heritage- -Arthur 
Schlesinger,  Jr.,  and  me  to  consider  doing  a  one-volume  textbook. 
The  other  one  (with  Current,  Williams,  and  Freidel)  was  to  be  a 
two-volume  textbook,  which  meant  I  would  have  had  to  write  half  a 
book.   In  this  one  I  would  write  six  chapters—that  wasn't  quite 
the  responsibility,  and  it  wouldn't  take  that  much  time. 

Anyway,  the  man  at  Harcourt  Brace  who  was  trying  to  promote 
this  was  very  clever.   He  invited  us  all  to  come  to  New  York,  and 
put  us  up  at  the  Yale  Club,  took  us  to  the  theater,  wined  and 
dined  us,  and  somehow  left  each  one  of  us- -we  found  in  later  years 
as  we  were  thinking  back—with  the  question:  "How  did  we  get  into 
this?"  None  of  us  regrets  it,  I  can  tell  you,  but  how  did  he  do 
it?  What  he  did  was  somehow  convey  the  impression  that  the  other 
five  were  ready  to  go,  but  they're  waiting  on  you,  and  each  one  of 
us  had  the  same  feeling.   [laughter] 

Lage:    So  he  was  a  good  negotiator,  or  deal-maker. 

Stampp:   Yes.   So  in  the  end,  we  agreed  to  do  it.   So  the  year  I  was  in  the 
apartment  alone,  I  was  working  on  the  textbook.   By  the  time  I 
went  off  to  Oxford  in  the  fall  of  '61,  I  had  all  but  the  last 
chapter  of  the  textbook--!  had  six  chapters,  and  I  had  five  of 
them  written.  Writing  a  textbook,  I  can  tell  you,  is  real 

Lage:    Were  you  doing  it  on  the  Civil  War  and— 

Stampp:   No,  I  did  the  period  from  the  election  of  Jefferson  in  1800  to  the 
1850s.   My  last  chapter  was  kind  of  a  social-economic  history  of 


Stampp : 


the  United  States  in  the  1850s.  Then  Bruce  Catton,  the  man  of  the 
Civil  War,  took  up  the  fifties  and  wrote  one  chapter  on  the 
background  to  the  Civil  War,  another  chapter  on  the  Civil  War,  and 
then  another  chapter  on  Reconstruction.   C.  Vann  Woodward  took  up 
there,  from  the  end  of  Reconstruction  to  the  end  of  the  nineteenth 
century,  and  then  John  Blum  and  Schlesinger  wrote  the  twentieth 
century.   Ed  Morgan,  of  course,  did  the  colonial  period  and  the 

The  text  turned  out  to  be  a  big  success.   It  had  a  big  sale, 
it  went  through  eight  editions.   It  ultimately  boiled  down  to 
having  to  do  a  new  edition  every  four  years,  and  you  can  almost 
trace  the  evolution  of  historical  thinking  about  women,  about 
blacks,  about  Chicanes,  about  Hispanics,  from  the  different 
editions  in  this  text,  because  each  time,  it  seemed  there  was  some 
part  of  our  vocabulary  that  we  had  to  change:  Negroes  became 
blacks  and  then  became  African  Americans,  and  no  longer  could  we 
refer  to  a  ship  as  feminine  or  a  country  as  feminine,  all  that  was 

Did  this  come  down  from  the  publisher,  or  your  own--? 

Well,  the  publisher—it  was  both.   The  publisher  got  the  static 
from  prospective  users,  and  the  users  got  it  from  the  students  or 
student  groups,  but  in  any  case,  the  vocabulary  changed  rather 

What  you  tend  to  do  from  one  edition  to  another  in  a 
textbook  is  keep  adding  things.  You  think  of  something  else  that 
should  get  in.   So  this  book  was  growing  and  growing,  bigger  and 
bigger.   Finally,  I  think  it  must  have  been  about  the  sixth 
edition,  the  publisher  said,  "Look,  this  book  is  getting 
oversized,  and  we  really  must  do  some  cutting."  So  in  that 
edition,  I  remember  my  big  task  was  simply  finding  things  I  could 
cut  out.   That  was  painful. 

We  got  the  eighth  edition  out  in  1994-- 
Oh,  my.   It's  really  gone  on. 

Stampp:  Arthur  Schlesinger,  Jr.,  did  the  late  20th  century.   He's  the  one 
who  had  to  keep  bringing  it  up  to  date  and  keep  adding  another 
presidential  election  to  it. 

Bruce  Catton  dropped  out  first. 



Stampp:   Each  new  edition  brought  us  together.  We  would  meet  somewhere,  in 
Washington  or  New  York,  usually  in  New  York,  to  talk  it  over. 
Obviously,  the  three  at  Yale  saw  each  other  a  great  deal,  but  I 
didn't  see  them  except  at  conventions. 

So  I  had  about  decided  that  I  was  not  going  to  contribute  to 
the  next  edition.   I  was  tired  of  that;  I  was  retired.  Arthur 
Schlesinger  had  dropped  out  by  that  time.  Then  a  letter  came  from 
Harcourt  Brace  saying  that  they  had  decided  not  to  do  another 
edition.   So  it's  in  its  last  edition.   It's  still  selling. 

Lage:    It's  a  lot  of  staying  power,  though,  when  you  think  how  long  that 
was  revised. 

Stampp:   Yes.   It  came  out  in  1962,  late  1962,  and  it's  still  available  and 
it's  still  being  used,  I  know  from  the  report  I  got  last  month 
that  it  was  still  being  used,  and  the  royalties  still  come  in. 

Lage:  So  you  were  glad  you  did  it. 

Stampp:  It  helped  my  standard  of  living.   [laughter] 

Lage:  That's  very  nice. 

Stampp :  Yes . 

Lage:  Was  it  very  much  used  on  the  Berkeley  campus? 

Stampp:   I  don't  know  that  it  was  ever  used  on  the  Berkeley  campus.   By 

that  time,  I  had  quit  teaching  History  17A/B--wait,  I  think  it  was 
once  or  twice  used  on  the  Berkeley  campus .   Then  when  Win  Jordan 
and  Leon  Litwack  took  over,  the  Hofstadter-Current-Miller  textbook 
was  used.   I  don't  know  what  textbook  they  use  now. 

Lage:    They  probably  change  it  every  year  so  the  students  can't  sell 
their  used  books.   [laughs] 

Stampp:  Well,  every  four  years.   That's  one  reason.   But  the  text  begins 
to  look  old  hat  if  the  last  presidential  election  isn't  in  it.   I 
remember  that  ships  became  neuter  instead  of  feminine.   I  thought 
that  was  rather  sad.   I  thought  when  I  wrote  about  the  beautiful 
clipper  ships,  to  refer  to  them  as  feminine  was-- 

Lage:    I  hadn't  realized  that  was  part  of  the  trend. 

Stampp:   Oh,  yes.   You  could  no  longer  talk  about  Britain  as  "she,"  or 

France  as  "her."  So  that  had  to  change.  We  had  to  bring  in  more 
--and  this  was  all  to  the  good—more  material  on  women's  history, 
more  material  on  American  Indian  history  and  on  Hispanic  history, 


more  on  black  history  than  we  had  to  begin  with.   So  I  think  the 
text  was  getting  better  and  better  as  we  went  along. 

Lage:    Now,  you  always  hear  of  Arthur  Schlesinger,  Jr.,  as  being  kind  of 
on  the  barricades  against  overemphasis  on  multiculturalism  or 
political  correctness.   Did  any  of  this  come  out  in  the  book? 

Stampp:   No,  and  the  interesting  thing  about  Arthur  is  he's  very  partisan. 
He  was  an  advisor  to  Jack  Kennedy,  and  certainly  a  prominent  and 
articulate  Democrat,  but  the  astonishing  thing  is  that  he  wrote 
very  detached,  analytical  chapters.  You  don't  get  any  of 
Schlesinger  the  partisan  in  his  chapters.  He  did  have  a  way  of 
turning  that  off  when  he  was  writing  about  it.   I  thought  his 
chapters  were  very  good,  and  he  was  probably  the  fastest  writer  of 
all  of  us.  Most  of  the  rest  of  us  labored  over  it  a  good  deal 

Lage:    You  were  a  busy  man  in  those  years,  it  sounds  like. 
Stampp:   Well,  yes.   Those  were  busy  years.   Very  good  years,  too. 

Harmsworth  Professor  at  Oxford.  1961-62 

Stampp:   So  I  think  we've  come  now  to  my  going  to  Oxford. 
Lage:    Yes.   Let's  talk  about  that. 

Stampp:   All  right.   I  had  a  wonderful  trip  over.   I  got  a  Fulbright  grant 
for  my  travel  expenses.   The  Harmsworth  professorship  didn't  pay 
transportation.   1  decided  I  was  going  to  go  by  ship.   I  decided 
to  take  the  Queen  Mary.   I  had  received  from  the  Fulbright 
Commission  a  grant  to  pay  second  class  over.   I  was  appalled  to 
find  out  in  August  that  to  go  second  class  alone  meant  that  you 
probably  would  have  to  share  a  room  with  one  or  two  other  men,  and 
that  didn't  appeal  to  me--two  strangers  on  the  ship. 

Lage:    In  a  tiny  room. 

Stampp:   Yes.   But  things  were  slow,  I  guess,  in  late  September,  and  I 

talked  to  the  man  at  the  British  agency  in  New  York  about  this, 
and  he  said,  "Well,  I'll  tell  you.   If  you're  willing  to  pay  $110 
more,  I'll  put  you  in  a  first-class  cabin."  It  was  spacious 
enough  for  three,  "but  I  guarantee  that  you'll  have  it  alone."   So 
that  seemed  to  me  a  pretty  good  deal. 


I  had  a  marvelous  trip  over.   It  takes  five  days,  and  things 
are  very  formal  in  first  class.  You  have  to  wear  a  tux  for 
dinner,  but  it  was  great.   It  was  a  real  taste  of  luxury. 

The  salary  that  Oxford  paid  to  the  Harmsworth  professor  was 
not  very  much;  it  was  2,500  pounds  a  year.  That  was  not  going  to 
take  care  of  my  expenses.   I  still  had  to  maintain  a  family  over 
here  and  support  two  children,  and  make  various  payments  to  my 
wife.   Our  divorce,  by  the  way,  went  through  in  June  of  1961, 
though  in  those  days,  you  had  to  wait  a  year  for  the  final  paper, 
and  that  came  in  June  1962. 

Life  in  Queens  College 

Stampp:   I  stayed  in  London  the  first  couple  of  days  after  I  arrived  and 

went  to  Oxford  around  the  first  of  October.   Before  I  got  there— 
this  was  a  surprise  to  them,  too--I  told  them  that,  "I'm  coming 
alone,  and  rather  than  living  somewhere  in  some  house,  I  would 
like  to  live  in  college."  I  must  say,  they  gave  me  some  beautiful 
accommodations.   I  lived  in  Queens  College  in  the  back  quad  on  the 
second  floor.   I  had  one  room  that  I  did  my  work  in  and  had  my 
breakfast  in.   I  had  a  big  living  room  with  a  fireplace.   I  had  a 
bedroom,  and  my  own  bath,  and  I  had  a  scout,  that's  what  they're 
called  there.  He's  the  man  who  looked  after  me. 

Lage:    A  valet? 

Stampp:   Well,  I  can  tell  you  what  he  did.  He  asked  me  what  time  I  wanted 
to  get  up  in  the  morning,  and  I  told  him,  and  he  would  come  and 
wake  me  at  that  time.   Then  he  would  go  in  and  turn  on  the  bath 
for  me,  and  pick  up  laundry,  and  take  it  out,  and  if  I  needed 
postage  stamps  or  cigarettes--!  was  a  smoker  at  that  point—or 
sherry  or  whatever,  he  would  bring  it  to  me.   I  paid  for  these 
things,  mind  you,  but  it  was  all  brought  to  me.   Then  I  had  my 
bath  and  dressed,  and  he  would  bring  my  breakfast. 

Lage:    Was  this  hard  to  get  used  to,  or  does  one  fall  into  it  easily? 

Stampp:  Well,  I'll  tell  you,  you  find  it  fairly—first  you're  self- 
conscious  about  it.  You're  not  used  to  something.  Then  he  makes 
my  bed  and  cleans  my  apartment— 

Lage:    Better  than  a  wife. 

Stampp:   Oh,  my  goodness.   [laughter]   Well,  hadn't  thought  about  that. 

I'm  not  sure.   It's  very  easy  to  get  used  to,  and  this  I  began  to 




realize- -because  there  were  other  unmarried  fellows  living  in 
college—it  turns  you  into  kind  of  a  helpless  baby.   Everything  is 
done  for  you. 

So  different  from  living  in  your  apartment  on  Francisco,  I'm  sure. 

Oh,  my,  I  should  say.   It  was  a  beautiful  location.   I  was  on  the 
back  quad,  and  across  from  my  rooms  I  could  see  the  Queens  College 
Library  which  is  one  of  the  most  beautiful  rooms  in  all  of  Oxford. 
Queens  College  was  built  in  the  late  seventeenth- -it  goes  back  to 
the  fourteenth  century,  but  the  Medieval  buildings  were  torn  down, 
and  they  rebuilt  the  whole  college  in  the  late  seventeenth 
century,  so  it's  this  wonderful  Baroque  architecture. 

On  the  other  side,  I  could  look—this  sounds  a  little 
morbid,  but  it  was  beautiful- -onto  a  small  old  graveyard,  and  1 
can  remember  looking  out  in  the  winter  when  the  grass  and  the 
bushes  were  covered  with  hoarfrost,  and  it  was  all  white.   It  was 
just  a  lovely  view. 

Fellows  living  in  college  and  fellows  living  out  of  college 
frequently  gave  little  parties,  not  dinner  parties,  but  evening 
parties,  wine  and  cheese,  talk.   So  a  couple  of  times,  I  had  to 
give  parties  in  my  room,  and  again,  I  was  the  gracious  host.  My 
scout  and  his  son  came  in  and  took  over.   They  brought  in  the  hors 
d'oeuvres  and  the  wine  and  then  afterward  cleaned  up. 

Were  these  other  fellows? 

Oh,  yes,  fellows,  mostly  in  Queens  College  that  I  knew,  but—no . 
I  got  to  know  fellows  at  several  other  colleges  as  well,  and  I 
invited  them  as  well. 

I  once  gave  a  small  dinner  party.   Dick  Drinnon  was  actually 
teaching  that  year  at  the  University  of  Leeds,  and  I  went  up  one 
time  to  visit  him  there,  then  I  invited  him  to  come  down,  and  he 
came  down  with  his  wife.   I  had  a  dinner  party  and  had  a  private 
room  in  Queens  College,  and  I  invited  two  other  couples,  both  of 
whom  were  interested  in  American  history.   They  brought  all  the 
college  silver  in,  and  it  was  a  very  elegant  dinner.  You  get  a 
bill  for  it  at  the  end  of  the  month,  but  it  was  very  nice. 

Living  in  college  was  an  interesting  experience.   It's  not 
easy  for  an  American—at  least,  it  wasn't  for  me— to  get  used  to 
the  kind  of  conversation  that  went  on  at  high  table,  because  there 
are  unwritten  rules.   You  never  talk  about  your  work.   The  worst 
thing  to  do  would  be  to  turn  to  someone  and  say,  "And  what  are  you 
doing  your  research  on?"  or  something  like  that.   You  just  don't 
do  that.   And  there  is  a  kind  of  wit  and  humor  and  banter  that 


goes  on  that  is  rather  different  from  the  kind  that  I  was  used  to 
in  Berkeley,  which  I  thought  I  managed  fairly  well.   So  you  did 
feel  a  bit  of  a  stranger. 

In  1961- '62,  there  were  lots  of  scholars  in  Britain  who 
didn't  really  think  there  was  such  a  thing  as  American  history. 
That's  the  recent  past.   So  I  had  to  put  up  with  a  certain  amount 
of  that  in  college  and  elsewhere. 

Lage:    Just  sort  of  the  witty  remark,  or  an  actual  engagement? 

Stampp:   Oh,  they  had  a  way  of  letting  you  know  that  American  history-- 
sometimes  it  was  kind  of  crude.   Somebody  would  say,  "What 
American  history?  I  didn't  know  there  was  such  a  thing  as 
American  history."  That  sort  of  thing. 

There  was  a  Scot  named  MacDonald  who  really  hated  Americans. 
Every  Harmsworth  professor  would  warn  the  next  one,  "Beware  of 
MacDonald."  He  wasn't  happy  until  he  had  insulted  the  Harmsworth 
professor,  and  he  didn't  waste  much  time  in  doing  it.   In  fact,  he 
did  it  several  times. 

I  remember  one  time  in  the  fall,  MacDonald  turned  to  me. 
After  dinner,  you  go  up  to  the  common  rooms  of  the  college  and 
drink  port  or  Madeira  and  eat  walnuts  and  pears.   I  remember 
MacDonald  turning  to  me  and  saying,  "Stampp,  what  do  you  think  of 
Castro  in  Cuba?"  Castro  had  just  recently  got  in.  When  I  have  a 
question  like  that  thrown  at  me,  I  tend  to  think  about  it.   I 
started  thinking  about  what  had  gone  on  in  Cuba  and  the  brutal 
dictatorship  that  was  there  before,  I  said,  "Well,  I  have  rather 
mixed  feelings  about  it."  He  turned  to  his  neighbor  on  the  other 
side  and  he  said,  "Stampp  doesn't  know  what  he  thinks  about  Cuba. 
What  do  you  think  about  Cuba?"  It  was  that  sort  of  thing. 

There  were  two  or  three  fellows  at  Queens  who  could  abide 
MacDonald,  but  few  liked  him,  and  few  wanted  to  sit  next  to  him  at 
table,  because  he  was  such  a  disagreeable  man.   He  drank  too  much, 
and  he  sometimes  came  half -plastered,  I  think.   So  the  fellows 
used  to  line  up  at  the  big  fireplace  in  the  dining  room  where  the 
students  ate,  and  we  had  a  high  table.  You  could  sort  of  maneuver 
to  sit  around  or  near  someone  that  you  wanted  to  sit  with,  and 
everyone  maneuvered  not  to  sit  next  to  MacDonald.   I  got  to  be 
pretty  good  at  that,  too. 

I  remember  one  time  I  had  out -maneuvered  an  Egyptologist  so 
that  he  was  going  to  have  to  sit  next  to  MacDonald,  and  he  grabbed 
me  by  the  arm  and  pulled  me  over  and  said,  "You  sit  next  to  him. 
You're  here  for  only  one  year.   I  spend  my  whole  life  here." 


Lage:  It  sounds  quite  disagreeable! 

Stampp :  Yes . 

Lage:  This  was  every  night,  I  assume? 

Stampp:  Every  night,  yes. 

Lage:    Did  this  get  a  little  tiresome,  the  social  scene?  Being  a  nightly 

Stampp:   Well,  it  was  every  noon  as  well  as  every  night.   I  could  have 

lunch  at  college,  and  I  could  have  dinner  at  college,  and  since  I 
was  unattached,  I  ate  there  fairly  steadily.   Every  now  and  then, 
I  would  take  a  break  and  go  out.   I  met  a  young  woman- -nothing 
serious--but  we  became  good  friends,  and  I  took  her  out  to  dinner 
a  number  of  times.   That's  a  nice  break.   It  was  a  wonderful 
experience,  but  I  would  say  that  it  was  hard  to  break  into  the 
life  of  a  college  that  way.   It  would  have  been  easier,  I  suppose, 
if  I  had  lived  with  my  family  in  a  house. 

Lage:    But  you  wouldn't  have  had  the  total  experience  either. 
Stampp:   That's  right. 

I  was  invited  to  have  dinner  at  various  other  colleges,  and 
that  was  nice—University  College,  and  somebody  I  got  to  know 
fairly  well  at  All  Souls  College,  and  I  had  dinner  there.   That's 

the  college  without  students, 
and  a  number  of  others. 

And  Keeble  College,  Jesus  College, 

Lecturing,  Friends,  and  Travel 

Stampp:   My  lectures  apparently  were  very  successful.   I  had  about  forty- 
five  students,  and  these  were  all  students  who  were  going  to  offer 
American  history  as  a  special  field  when  they  took  their  exams  at 
the  end  of  their  third  year. 

Lage:    So  you  actually  had  students  signed  up  with  you,  not  just  people 
who  happened  to  come? 

Stampp:   No,  these  students  came  voluntarily.   I  gave  no  exams,  they  wrote 
no  papers.   I  lectured  to  them  on  slavery  and  secession,  1848- 
1862.   I  warned  them  that  I  was  going  to  take  a  long  running  jump 
into  1848,  which  meant  I  was  going  to  go  back  further,  and  I 


didn't  promise  that  I  would  end  at  '62.   I  said,  "You'll  never 
know  how  the  war  came  out  if  I  stop  there." 

My  lectures  were  a  success.  The  students  tended  in  many 
lecture  courses  to  sort  of  disappear.  Mine  stuck  to  the  end,  and 
some  of  my  colleagues  at  Queens  were  rather  astonished  that  I  kept 
these  students  attending. 

The  interesting  thing  about  the  students  I  had—this  is 
1961-'62--they  were  conservative  students  who  were  interested  in 
American  history,  Tories.   I  think  most  of  the  left-wing  students 
didn't  like  the  United  States  very  much.  This  was  the  Cold  War. 
In  any  case,  there  was  a  very  substantial  contingent  among  these 
forty-four,  forty-five  students  who  were  very  conservative.   One 
time  in  December,  the  conservative  students  whom  I  got  to  know 
fairly  well  invited  me  to  a  dinner  of  some  society  which  was  very 
conservative.   It  was  an  annual  dinner,  and  we  first  met  and  had 
sherry  at  Christ  Church  College,  which  is  one  of  the  more 
conservative  colleges,  I  think,  and  then  had  dinner  in  a 
restaurant  in  a  private  room  upstairs. 

I  was  asked  to  respond  to  the  toast  to  the  visitors.   I  was 
a  guest,  and  there  were  several  others,  and  I  was  asked  to  be  the 
one  to  respond.   There  were  lots  of  distinguished  historians 
there.   It  was  a  fine  dinner,  and  I  didn't  know  what  I  should  say. 

So  I  finally  got  up  and  said  something  about  the  United 
States  being  a  very  conservative  country  politically.   I  said, 
"Actually,  you  could  travel  from  New  York  to  San  Francisco  and 
never  meet  a  socialist.   So  you  will  understand  the  irony  of  your 
inviting  me  to  respond,  one  of  the  few  socialists  in  the  United 
States."   [laughter] 

Lage:    Did  they  realize? 

Stampp:   No,  they  didn't  realize,  and  it  was  in  a  way  a  foul  trick  on  the 
young  man  who  invited  me,  because  he  was  a  conservative  among 
conservatives,  and  his  friends  really  teased  him  about  picking  a 
socialist.   [laughter] 

Lage:    Well,  that  must  have  been  kind  of  a  fun  thing  for  you. 
Stampp:   Yes,  that  was  a  fun  thing. 

In  college,  I  did  have  several  very  good  friends.   One  was 
Henry  Felling,  who  was  interested  in  nineteenth  century  British 
history  but  also  very  much  interested  in  American  history.   He 
even  wrote  a  little  book  on  the  history  of  American  labor.   He  was 


a  bachelor,  and  he  and  I  spent  a  lot  of  time  together.  We  went 
for  walks  together,  and  we  played  chess  together. 

Another  bachelor  friend  was  named  Bill  Calder  whose  field 
was  German  literature,  and  another  one  was  the  college  organist--a 
very  good  organist.   I  frequently  went  to  listen  to  him  practice 
in  the  Queens  Chapel.   So  I  did  have  some  good  friends  there,  and 
several  of  them  outside. 

The  college  I  enjoyed  going  to  most  was  Nuf field.   That  was 
one  of  the  newest  colleges—it  was  particularly  good  in  political 
science,  history,  philosophy.   There  was  one  degree  there  called 
PPE,  which  is  philosophy,  political  science,  and  economics --not 
history,  economics.   One  reason  I  liked  going  there  is  that—well, 
there  was  a  different  atmosphere  and  a  different  spirit  there,  and 
Americans  would  feel  more  comfortable  there  than  anywhere  else. 
The  great  thing  was  it  had  central  heating.   [laughter]  At 
dinnertime,  you  felt  warm. 

So  that  brings  me  really  to  the  end  of  the  first  term.   In 
addition  to  my  lectures,  I  ran  a  seminar  with  Henry  Felling,  and 
then  the  second  term  I  ran  another  one  with  Herbert  Nicholas,  who 
was  in  political  science.   The  students  wrott  papers,  and  my,  what 
a  change  from  Berkeley.   These  men  and  women--!  had  some  women  in 
my  classes,  too—they  could  write.   I  never  had  to  worry  about 
their  prose.   They  turned  in  well-written  and  thoughtful  papers. 

I  also  agreed  that— 1  didn't  have  to  do  this— but  I  agreed 
to  give  tutorials  to  several  students,  which  meant  that  they  would 
meet  with  me  individually.   They  would  come  and  read  papers,  and  I 
would  read  them,  and  we  would  talk  them  over.   That  was  wonderful 

There  were  six  weeks,  I  think,  between  the  fall  term  and  the 
winter  term,  from  mid-December  until  late  January.  My  plan  was  to 
spend  at  least  three  weeks  of  it  in  Florence.   1  thought,  here's 
my  chance  to  live  in  Florence.  Well,  December  was  a  bitterly  cold 
month  in  England,  and  I  had  trouble  keeping  warm.   I  was  writing 
my  last  textbook  chapter,  and  I  can  remember  sitting  in  my  room, 
the  room  I  had  breakfast  in,  but  also  it's  the  room  I  worked  in;  I 
had  my  books  there  and  my  typewriter.   I  had  a  gas  fire  on,  and  I 
can  remember  sitting  at  my  typewriter  in  December  with  my  overcoat 
on  and  a  blanket  over  my  knees  and  trying  to  type,  and  every  now 
and  then  going  over  and  warming  my  fingers  at  the  fireplace 
because  it  was  so  cold. 

I  had  made  arrangements  with  a  local  travel  agency  to  fly  to 
Florence  and  for  a  hotel  accommodation.   I  went  back  to  him  in 
mid-December  and  said,  "Look.   I  want  to  go  to  somewhere  where 



it's  warm,  and  forget  about  museums,  forget  about  art  galleries. 
I  just  want  to  be  warm."  He  said,  "Well,  probably  Torremolinos  in 
Spain,  on  the  Mediterranean,  is  good."  Torremolinos  at  that  time 
was  a  little  fishing  village.   It  wasn't  the  big  resort  it  is  now. 

So  I  agreed  to  go  there.   I  remember  I  went  down  to  London 
for  Christmas,  and  Henry  Felling  was  there  also.  We  stayed  at 
different  hotels,  but  we  had  Christmas  dinner  together.  We  were 
in  a  restaurant  where  it  was  terribly  cold.  We  had  a  bottle  of 
red  wine,  and  I  remember  we  sipped  it,  and  I  said,  "This  is  cold, 
ice  cold."  Henry  said,  "Well,  it's  room  temperature."   [laughter] 
Then  Christmas  Day,  Henry  and  I  went  for  a  walk  in  London. 

Then  I  went  back  to  Oxford  after  Christmas  and  finished  the 
last  bit  of  the  last  chapter  of  the  textbook  and  got  a  typist,  and 
she  typed  it  up.   She  turned  it  back  to  me,  and  I  found  that  she 
had  changed  all  my  spellings  to  the  British  way.   So  color  was 
"colour"  and  so  on.   I  had  to  go  through  the  whole  manuscript  and 
correct  all  these  changes. 

I  put  the  manuscript  in  the  mail,  and  the  next  day  got  on 
the  plane  for  Gibraltar.   I  arrived  in  Gibraltar  on  the  thirtieth 
of  December  and  then  had  to  take  a  bus  from  Gibraltar  to 
Torremolinos,  which  means  crossing  the  frontier  from  Gibraltar 
into  Spain.   I  remember  my  daughter  writing  me  a  letter  chiding  me 
for  going  to  Spain,  because  I  had  said  I  would  never  set  foot  in 
Spain  until  Franco  was  gone.   She  said  something  unpleasant  about, 
"Your  principles  give  way  when  you  get  cold." 

Because  she  didn't  know  how  cold  it  was. 

Stampp:  Well,  that's  right. 

Anyway,  we  got  to  the  frontier,  and  the  customs  man  was 
there,  and  I  had  two  suitcases.  He  took  the  little  one,  he  opened 
it  and  closed  it  again.  He  said,  "Now  you  pay  me  a  tip."  I  said, 
"I've  never  paid  a  tip  going  across  a  frontier.   What  do  you  mean, 
pay  you  a  tip?"  He  said,  "You  want  me  to  go  through  both  of  your 
suitcases  from  top  to  bottom,  take  everything  out  of  them?"  So  I 
paid  him  a  tip. 

Lage:    So  much  for  Franco. 

Stampp:   I  went  to  Torremolinos,  where  I  had  a  hotel  reservation.   The  rate 
at  the  hotel  was  so  low  that  1  thought,  this  must  be  a  crummy 
place  and  certainly  no  private  bath.  Well,  it  turned  out  to  be  a 
very  nice  modern  hotel.   It  was  forty-two  dollars  a  week  for 
dinner,  breakfast,  and  room.  At  the  desk,  I  said,  "I  want  you  to 
know  that  I  asked  for  a  room  with  a  private  bath."  He  said,  "Sir, 


all  our  rooms  have  private  baths . "  They  were  elegant  rooms ,  with 
a  balcony  overlooking  the  Mediterranean.   I  spent  three  weeks 
there  and  got  warm. 

Lage:    Was  it  warm? 

Stampp:   Oh,  it  was  warm,  it  was  wonderful.   I  could  walk  around  in  my 

shirtsleeves  on  the  beach.   I  spent  a  lot  of  time  in  Malaga  and 
crossed  the  mountains  to  see  the  Alhambra.   That  was  a  lovely 

Then  I  went  back  to  Oxford  and  found  that  people's  water 
pipes  had  been  frozen  all  over  because  of  the  cold.   People  had 
water  pipes  running  down  the  outside  of  their  houses,  breaking.   I 
remember  one  man  at  Queens  who  had  married  recently  coming  to  me 
and  saying,  "Would  you  mind  while  you're  gone  if  my  wife  took 
baths  in  your  rooms?"   I  said,  "No."   It  was  so  cold. 

Marriage  to  Isabel 

Stampp:   The  next  term  started  out  pretty  much  the  way  the  first  term  did. 
I  was  lecturing  again  the  second  term.   February  dragged  on,  it 
was  cold  and  not  very  good  weather.   Henry  Felling  and  I  kept 
playing  chess. 

I  was  invited  to  a  dinner  party  on  the  third  of  March  by 
someone  named  Alec  Campbell,  who  was  at  Keeble  College  and  who  was 
interested  in  American  history.   He  had  written  a  couple  of 
articles  on  American  topics  and  published  them.   I  thought,  it 
will  be  just  another  dinner  party,  get  some  sherry,  and  it  will  be 

It  was  a  nasty,  snowy  night,  and  I  walked  through  kind  of 
wet  snow  to  get  to  the  dinner  party.   I  happened  to  get  there 
first  and  sat  down,  and  the  first  surprise  was  that  he  said, 
"Would  you  like  a  martini?" 

Lage:    He  was  Americanized. 

Stampp:   Yes,  he  had  been  here.   He  was  married  to  an  American  woman, 

actually.   I  had  a  martini,  and  I  had  another  martini,  in  fact. 
Another  couple  came,  in  anthropology. 



Stampp:   The  doorbell  rang,  and  the  hostess  went  to  the  door,  and  I  heard  a 
woman's  voice,  and  she  walked  in.   I  was  waiting  for  the  man  to 
follow,  but  no  man  followed,  and  this  turned  out  to  be  the  woman  I 

Lage:    My  goodness. 

Stampp:   She  sat  down  next  to  me,  it  was  the  only  place  that  she  could  sit, 
and  we  talked  all  night.   The  hostess  had  done  this  deliberately. 
She  really  was  arranging  a  match. 

Lage:    Oh,  really?  Did  you  know  the  hostess? 

Stampp:   Yes,  she  was  at  the  dinner  party  that  I  had  given  for  the 

Drinnons,  so  I  had  met  her.   I  had  met  her  at  another  party  as 
well,  and  I  knew  her  husband  quite  well,  because  I  had  dinner  with 
him  at  Keeble  College.   Anyway,  my  future  wife,  Isabel,  was  there. 

Lage:    So  someone  was  playing  matchmaker. 

Stampp:   Yes,  absolutely.  Well,  it  turned  out  that  Alec  Campbell,  who  was 
the  man  that  I  had  got  to  know,  had  grown  up  in  my  wife  Isabel's 
village  in  Scotland.   His  father  was  a  good  friend  of  Isabel's 
father,  and  he  was  a  theologian  who  in  1962  was  a  professor  of 
theology  at  Cambridge. 

Lage:     Isabel's  father? 

Stampp:   No,  Alec  Campbell's  father.   Isabel's  father  was  a  medical  doctor, 
he  was  a  general  practitioner  in  the  little  village  of  Kilmacolm 
in  Scotland. 

That  was  the  beginning  of  a  romance,  and  we  were  engaged  to 
be  married  in  two  weeks . 

Lage:    Oh,  really?  This  was  whirlwind. 
Stampp:   Oh,  yes.   It  just  went  very  fast. 
Lage:    She  had  been  married? 

Stampp:   She  had  been  married.   She  was  eleven  years  younger  than  I  am,  and 
she  had  married  in  1949  an  Oxford  graduate.   She  was  a  medical 
social  worker,  and  when  I  met  her  she  was  working  at  the  Radcliffe 
Infirmary,  which  is  a  teaching  hospital,  and  she  was  what  was  then 
called  an  almoner,  in  other  words  a  medical  social  worker.   After 
she  was  married  in  1949,  she  and  her  husband,  who  had  come  out  of 
the  RAF,  migrated  to  Montreal.   She  lived  in  Montreal  for  two 
years.   She  had  a  child  there.   Her  marriage  went  sour  very 


quickly.   In  '51,  '52,  she  went  home  with  her  baby.  When  I  met 
her,  she  was  divorced,  and  she  had  a  daughter  going  on  ten  years 
old.   In  June,  my  divorce  was  final,  and  Isabel  and  I  were  married 
on  the  fourth  of  July,  in  Oxford,  in  St.  Columbo's  Church,  a 
Scottish  Presbyterian  church.  That  was  the  event  of  that  year. 

Lage:    That  must  have  been  something  of  a  surprise  to  your  children, 
coming  home  with  a  new  wife. 

Stampp:   Yes,  and  they  were  more  surprised  than  pleased. 
Lage:    It's  a  hard  age,  I  think,  for  kids  to  understand. 

Stampp:   In  '62,  my  son  was  turning  twenty.   My  daughter  had  turned 

seventeen.   Well,  I  won't  go  into  that  any  more.   There  was  a 
problem,  a  little  problem  on  the  other  side,  too.   Isabel's 
daughter,  Michele,  had  been  living  with  her  mother  alone  for 
something  like  eight  years  in  Oxford.   Suddenly  this  man  comes 
along  and  steals  her  mother.   So  there  were  some  problems. 

Ken  Stampp  receiving  the  Lincoln  Prize,  1993, 

Isabel  and  Ken  Stampp,  1995, 


PUBLICATIONS,  1960s- 1970s 

Stampp:   We  arrived  in  Berkeley  in  August  '62  and  rented  the  house  of  Tom 
Barnes  who  was  on  leave  that  year.  We  lived  in  the  Barnes'  house 
until  January;  then  we  found  a  house  up  on  Creston  Road  and  bought 
it,  and  lived  there  for  the  next  four  years.   Then  we  moved  down 
to  San  Luis  Road. 

I'm  trying  to  think  where  things  were  in  the  fall  of  1962. 
Well,  there  was  the  matter  of  introducing  my  wife  to  all  these 
colleagues  who  were  a  bit  shocked,  and  to  my  children- -and  that 
took  a  lot  of  nervous  energy  that  fall. 

Bridenbaugh,  Kuhn,  and  Dupree 

Stampp:   I  have  to  back  up  because  Bridenbaugh  comes  into  this. 
Lage:    We  left  him  being  elected  president  of  the  AHA. 

Stampp:   Yes.   Now,  before  I  went  to  Oxford,  in  the  spring  of  1961--Carl 
and  I  had  been  friends  for  ten  years,  and  I've  told  you  he  was  a 
difficult  man.   Carl  was  on  the  history  department's  Personnel 
Committee,  and  that  committee  initiated  searches  if  we  were 
looking  for  new  people  to  bring  in,  but  it  also  had  something  to 
do  with  promotions. 

Lage:    And  you  were  on  it  also? 

Stampp:   No,  I  was  not  on  at  that  time.   It  was  1961 --no,  this  was  before  I 
went  to  Oxford.   This  is  '60- '61,  and  I  was  vice  chairman  again 
during  that  year  and  Delmer  was  chairman.   He  had  come  back  and 
resumed  his  chairmanship.   So  I  was  vice  chairman,  and  Carl  was  on 
the  Personnel  Committee  and  might  very  well  have  been  the  chairman 
of  it. 


Some  time  that  spring,  the  question  came  of  promoting  Tom 
[Thomas  S.]  Kuhn,  who  was  our  top  man  in  the  history  of  science, 
from  associate  to  full  professor.  He  already  had  tenure.  We  had 
another  man  in  the  history  of  science,  A.  Hunter  Dupree.   Dupree 
had  a  degree,  Ph.D.  in  history,  and  Tom  Kuhn  had  a  degree  in 
physics,  perfect  from  the  perspective  of  the  department:  somebody 
looking  at  the  history  of  science  from  the  standpoint  of  a 
scientist,  the  other  looking  at  it  from  the  standpoint  of  an 

Well,  the  two  of  them  didn't  get  on  very  well.  Hunter 
Dupree  was  a  very  good  friend  of  Carl  Bridenbaugh's,  and  it  was 
Carl  who  really  initiated  getting  Dupree  here.  Anyway,  the 
question  of  promotion  of  Tom  Kuhn  to  full  professor  came  up.   Carl 
raised  objections.   I  wasn't  there  so  I  don't  know  why,  but  he 
wanted  the  whole  thing  postponed.   So  the  tenure  committee  did 
nothing,  they  did  postpone  it. 

Lage:    Had  Kuhn  written  his  groundbreaking  book?   [The  Structure  of 
Scientific  Revolutions,  1962] 

Stampp:   He  had  written,  and  he  was  a  brilliant  man.   No,  I  think  his 

groundbreaking  book  was  something  he  was  working  on  at  that  time. 

Anyway,  that  was  on  a  Friday,  and  Saturday  morning  I  was 
down  on  campus,  and  I  saw  a  number  of  historians  in  Carl 
Schorske's  office.   Henry  May  was  there,  and  Joe  Levenson  was 
there,  and  they  were  very  angry  at  Carl  Bridenbaugh.   They  all 
thought  that  Tom  Kuhn  was  brilliant  and  there  should  be  no 
question  about  promotion. 

I  said,  "I'm  vice  chairman,  and  I'm  going  to  go  to  Delmer 
Brown  and  ask  for  another  meeting.   In  fact,  I  think  I'll  get  a 
petition."  So  I  wrote  a  petition  asking  for  another  meeting,  and 
got  virtually  every  professor  to  sign  it.   I  can't  remember 
whether  one  or  two  people  didn't. 

I  took  it  to  Delmer.  That  upset  Delmer.  Delmer  said, 
"Well,  you  didn't  have  to  have  a  petition.  Why  didn't  you  just 
come  to  me  and  ask  for  another  meeting?"   I  should  have.   After 
lunch,  Carl  Bridenbaugh  came  to  my  office,  and  I  don't  know  what 
he  was  going  to  talk  about,  but  I  said,  "Carl,  I  don't  understand 
what  you  did  last  Friday  about  Tom  Kuhn."  He  started  saying, 
"Well,  Tom  Kuhn  is  not"--something,  whatever,  and  I  said,  "Well, 
Carl,  I  have  to  tell  you  that  I  have  given  a  petition  to  Delmer 
asking  for  another  meeting." 

Carl  got  up  and  walked  out  of  my  office  and  never  spoke  to 
me  again.   He  went  to  Delmer  and  resigned  from  the  Personnel 


Committee.   We  did  have  another  meeting  a  week  later,  and  Tom  was 
unanimously  nominated  for  promotion,  but  that  was  the  beginning  of 
the  end  of  Carl  Bridenbaugh  at  Berkeley. 

Lage:    Did  he  leave  shortly  thereafter? 

Stampp:   He  left  the  next  year.   He  went  to  Brown  University. 

Lage:    It's  kind  of  ironic,  because  he  was  one  of  the  ones  that  fought 
the  old-boy  system. 

Stampp:   Yes,  it  was  as  if  he  wanted  to  destroy  the  thing  he  had  helped  to 

He  went  to  Brown  University  very  angry  and  very  bitter,  and 
ultimately  persuaded  Hunter  Dupree  to  go  with  him. 

So  when  I  came  back  in  1962--this  is  why  I  remembered  it-- 
Bridenbaugh  was  no  longer  here.   It  was  the  most  astonishing 
thing,  the  whole  thing.  After  ten  years  of  friendship,  once  I  had 
disagreed  with  him,  that  was  it. 

If  either  Kuhn  or  Dupree  had  been  Harvard  and  the  other  had 
not  been  Harvard,  that  might  have  explained  it,  because  Carl  had  a 
thing  about  Harvard. 

Lage:    You  mean  if  one  had  been  from  Harvard? 

Stampp:   Both  of  them  were  Harvard  Ph.D.'s.   Tom  Kuhn  and  Hunter  Dupree 

both  had  Harvard  Ph.D.'s.   So  did  Carl  Bridenbaugh.  And  as  I've 
told  you  before,  Carl  was  always  in  competition  with  Harvard,  and 
he  was  going  to  build  a  better  department. 

Lage:    Let  me  just  ask  one  more  thing:  how  long  did  Tom  Kuhn  stay  after 
that?   Because  he  also  left. 

Stampp:   He  stayed  another  couple  years,  then  had  the  offer  from  Princeton 
and  went  to  Princeton.  Then  the  FSM  thing  came  up,  and  that  led 
to  a  couple  of  other  resignations,  or  at  least  it  was  a 
contributing  part  to  a  couple  of  other  resignations.   David  Landes 
left  and  went  to  Harvard. 


SLATE,  Free  Speech  on  Campus,  and  the  Civil  Rights  Movement 
[Interview  8:  June  A,  1996]  ## 

Lage:    Today  is  June  4,  1996,  and  we're  into  our  eighth  session  with  Ken 
Stampp.   We're  coming  up  to  Berkeley  in  the  sixties,  and  of  course 
that  sloshes  over  into  the  seventies.   I  thought  we  might  want  to 
start  with  a  little  background  on  campus  activities  in  the  fifties 
as  you  remember  it--in  the  late  fifties. 

Stampp:   In  the  late  fifties.   I  have  a  few  recollections  of  the  activities 
of  SLATE.   I  don't  remember  the  personnel  any  more,  but  I  know 
that  SLATE  was  one  of  the  first  organizations  that  tried  to  open 
up  the  campus  to  political  meetings,  and  they  had  some  success.   I 
remember  two  specific  instances—no,  I'm  sorry,  one. 

Somebody  from  SLATE  came  to  me  [in  1963]  and  asked  me  to 
sponsor  a  meeting  on  campus  to  hear  Herbert  Aptheker  speak  on  a 
historical  topic.   I  guess  he  was  considered  to  be  the 
theoretician  of  the  Communist  party  in  the  United  States,  but  he 
was  also  a  historian.   He  had  written  several  books  on  African 
Americans  in  various  aspects  of  American  history.   He  had  written 
a  book  called  American  Negro  Slave  Revolts,  and  the  subject  of  his 
topic  was  going  to  be  Reconstruction  historiography. 

I  offered  to  sponsor  it,  and  they  went  to  the  administra 
tion.  At  that  time  Ed  Strong  was  chancellor.   SLATE  was  turned 
down  on  the  grounds  that  there  was  a  regents'  rule  that  no 
Communist  was  to  speak  on  campus,  in  addition  to  the  fact  that 
there  was  to  be  no  political  activity  on  campus,  but  this  was  not 

Lage:    Right,  this  was  an  academic  matter. 

Stampp:   It  was  an  academic  matter.   So  the  meeting  had  to  be  held  in 

Stiles  Hall.   We  got  a  room  there,  and  I  was  still  sponsoring  it. 
I  introduced  Herbert  Aptheker,  since  that  was  my  field.   He  spoke 
for  fifty  minutes  or  so  about  Reconstruction  historiography.  We 
had  a  lot  of  students,  a  lot  of  graduate  students,  two  members  of 
the  faculty.   Frankly,  it  was  an  awfully  dull  speech.   He  had  a 
bunch  of  three-by-five  cards  with  titles  on  them,  and  he  sort  of 
flipped  through  them  and  said,  "This  is  a  good  book,  this  is  a  bad 
book,"  and  a  little  more,  but  not  much  more  than  that.   So  it  was 
rather  disappointing  from  that  standpoint. 

Lage:    Was  there  anything  new  or-- 
Stampp:   No. 


Lage:    --inventive  in  looking  at  Reconstruction  historiography? 

Stampp:   No.   Then  a  hat  was  passed  to  raise  some  money  for  Aptheker  to 

help  pay  his  expenses,  and  he  said,  "Well,  I  really  ought  to  pay 
you  for  this,"  and  we  decided  we  didn't  want  his  money, 
[laughter]   That  was  the  end  of  that  meeting. 

SLATE,  as  I  recall,  went  back  to  the  administration  twice 
more,  once  to  ask  for  a  room  on  campus  to  play  tapes  of,  I 
believe,  some  Communist  speakers,  and  they  were  turned  down.   Then 
they  went  back  to  the  administration  and  asked  to  read  excerpts 
from  books  in  the  Berkeley  library,  and  that  they  could  hardly 
turn  down,  so  they  got  the  meeting.   This  led  fairly  soon  to  the 
rescinding  of  the  rule  against  Communists  speaking  on  campus.   The 
ridiculousness  of  it  was  so  clear.   I'm  weak  on  dates,  but  that's 
the  background  of  that. 

The  question  of  free  speech  on  the  campus  was  merging  very 
rapidly,  with  the  interest  of  SLATE  in  the  civil  rights  movement 
in  the  South.  As  you  know,  things  were  rather  boiling  in  the 
South  in  the  late  fifties.  A  number  of  Berkeley  students, 
graduate  students,  were  very  active  in  it,  and  members  of  the 
faculty—Charlie  Sellers  was  particularly  active  in  the  movement 
and  the  Freedom  Riders  movement.   He  went  to  Mississippi,  must 
have  been  1963,  I  believe.   In  these  early  years,  the  culmination 
was  the  march  from  Selma  to  Montgomery. 

Lage:    I  have  '65  as  the  date  of  that  march. 

Marching  from  Selma  to  Montgomery 

Stampp:   '65.   You're  probably  right.   Anyway,  a  group  of  historians  got 
interested  in  participating  at  least  in  the  last  phase  of  the 
march,  to  join  them  somewhere  outside  of  Montgomery,  and  then 
march  into  Montgomery  and  up  to  the  state  capitol.   I  went.   Larry 
Levine  was  a  young  assistant  professor  then,  and  we  raised  some 
money  from  within  the  department  to  help  pay  Larry  Levine ' s 
expenses.  We  flew  to  Atlanta,  and  there  we  were  met  by  a  bus  that 
took  us  to  Tuskegee  Institute  and  stayed  the  night  there,  and 
interestingly,  in  a  building  that  had  been  built  in  the  early 
twentieth  century  for  white  visitors  only. 

Lage:    Oh,  that  is  kind  of  ironic. 

Stampp:   Yes.   Well,  that  was  the  Tuskegee  system.   Blacks  at  that  time 
were  admitted,  but  that  building  Booker  T.  Washington  had  built 


for  Northern  white  benefactors  of  Tuskegee,  so  they  could  stay 
there.  A  lily  white  group,  except  for  the  waiters,  I  presume. 

From  there,  we  were  driven  to  Montgomery,  to  the  outskirts 
of  Montgomery.  Actually,  we  went  the  night  before  the  last  day  of 
the  march.  As  I  recall,  it  was  a  fairgrounds,  with  a  stand  and  a 
huge  crowd  there,  and  lots  of  entertainers—Peter,  Paul,  and  Mary, 
and  a  lot  of  celebrities  were  there  that  night.   It  was  quite  an 
evening.  Then  back  to  Tuskegee,  and  the  next  morning,  back  again 
to  join  the  march. 

The  march  was  peaceful,  lots  of  police  around  to  make  sure 
that  nobody  made  trouble.   I  remember  marching  through  an  area  of 
Montgomery  that  was  almost  solidly  inhabited  by  blacks,  and  I 
remember  the  rather  passive  looks  on  the  faces  of  many  of  them. 
They  were  out  sitting  or  standing  on  their  porches,  but  I  didn't 
see  many  people  out  hurrahing  and  cheering. 

Lage:    Sort  of,  "What's  going  on  here?" 

Stampp:   Well,  I  guess  they  knew  what  was  going  on,  but  1  guess  they  also 
were  cautious  about  being  too  demonstrative  in  expressing  their 

We  got  to  the  state  house.   The  governor  wasn't  around,  and 
Martin  Luther  King  made  his  speech.  There  were  lots  of  other 
speakers  as  well.   Then  we  went  back  to  Tuskegee,  and  from  there 
to  Atlanta. 

Oh,  I  remember—in  Atlanta,  I  had  a  phone  call  from  somebody 
from  Time  magazine.   Time  magazine  was  doing  a  review  of  my  book- 
it  was  '65,  that's  right,  because  my  reconstruction  book  was 
coming  out—and  Time  magazine  ran  a  review  of  it,  and  some 
photographer  came  and  took  my  picture. 

Lage:    That  would  politicize  your  book  in  some  ways. 

Stampp:   Yes,  well,  I  suppose.   Oddly  enough,  that  photographer  was  at  the 
rally  the  night  before,  up  on  the  platform  or  near  the  platform, 
and  I  had  the  bad  luck  of  knocking  over  his  camera.   [laughs]   He 
was  very  unhappy  about  it  and  said  something  rather  unpleasant, 
and  the  next  morning,  he  was  there  to  take  my  picture.   [laughter] 
I  reminded  him  that  I  had  knocked  over  his  camera,  and  that  was 
the  end  of  that. 

Lage:    Did  a  lot  of  Berkeley  professors  go  to  that? 

Stampp:   I  think  that  Larry  Levine  and  I  were  the  only  ones.   That  is  my 
recollection.   I  think  the  two  of  us  were  the  only  ones,  as  I 



Stampp ; 




recall,  but  there  was  a  big  group  of—there  must  have  been,  oh,  at 
least  forty  historians  from  everywhere.   C.  Vann  Woodward  was 
there,  and  Walter  Johnson,  and  Richard  Hofstadter,  as  I  recall, 
were  there.   They  were  well  represented,  in  any  case. 

It's  kind  of  interesting  that  historians  chose  to  come  as 

They  were  all  historians,  but  they  were  coming  as  individuals. 
They  weren't  group  representatives? 

They  were  not  representing  the  American  Historical  Association  or 
the  Organization  of  American  Historians.   They  were  there  as 
individuals.  We  carried  no  banner;  I  mean,  there  was  no  way  of 
identifying.   There  was  nothing  about  historians  for  civil  rights 
or  anything  of  that  sort. 

Were  you  finding  a  different  kind  of  student  on  campus, 
result  of  the  civil  rights  demonstrations? 

maybe  as  a 

I  was  finding  a  significant  minority  of  students  in  the  early 
1960s  who  were  more  politically  active  and  politically  aware  and 
more  concerned  about  social  issues  at  that  time,  segregation  and 
free  speech  on  campus.   But  one  must  always  remember  that  we  had  a 
student  body  of  about  27,000,  and  if  there  were  a  few  thousand— 
probably  less  —  that  would  probably  include  everyone  in  the 
movement.   From  time  to  time,  more  students  would  feel  some 
sympathy  for  some  particular  issue,  but  as  far  as  being  organized 
and  what  you  could  call  activist,  it  was  always  a  minority.   I 
think  probably  the  majority  of  students  had  some  vague  and  mild 
sympathy  for  the  Free  Speech  Movement,  but  they  were  certainly  not 
active  participants  in  it. 

I  would  say  that  was  probably  true  of  the  faculty  as  well. 
Most  of  the  faculty  who  played  an  active  part  in  it  came  from  a 
few  departments— sociology,  anthropology,  philosophy,  history, 
English,  political  science— not  many  from  the  sciences.   Not  that 
there  weren't  any;  there  were  some,  but  not  a  great  number. 

Did  many  professors  get  involved,  or  did  you  yourself,  in  the 
local  civil  rights  demonstrations  that  were  also  beginning  to  be 
more  frequent? 

Well,  again,  a  small  number,  and  this  was  largely  the  work  of 
CORE,  Congress  on  Racial  Equality.   The  most  active  member  in  that 
group  on  the  faculty,  as  far  as  I  know,  was  Charlie  Sellers.   He 
was  very  active  in  organizing  picketing.   I  participated  with  one 
of  my  daughters,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  in  picketing  Palmer's  Drug 


Store  and  other  stores--!  think  Hink's  was  being  picketed  at  the 
time  for  not  hiring  black  employees.   I  don't  know  how  much  good 
it  did,  but  it  made  us  feel  good  doing  something  and  carrying  a 
sign,  and  I  was  very  pleased  that  one  of  my  daughters  was  there 
with  me  carrying  a  sign. 

Lage:    Was  this  your  younger  daughter  or  your  older? 

Stampp:   This  was  Isabel's  daughter,  Michele.   Jenny  was  much  too  young 
then--just  a  baby--and  my  other  daughter  was  going  to  school  in 
Santa  Barbara,  so  Michele  was  the  one  who  was  the  activist  at  that 
point . 

The  Free  Speech  Movement  and  the  Senate  Committee  on  Academic 

Lage:    Well,  shall  we  get  into  your  take  on  FSM  and  what  you  recall  about 
faculty  response? 

Stampp:   All  right.   The  FSM  movement,  the  Free  Speech  Movement,  got  its 
start  in  the  fall  of  1964,  and  during  the  first  few  episodes,  I 
was  not  here.   I  was  up  at  Lake  Tahoe,  closing  up  our  cottage.  We 
had  a  cottage  up  there  at  that  time.   The  famous  incident  on 
campus  when  the  police  car  was  surrounded  and  all  that,  I  did  not 
witness.   I  was  not  here,  and  I  heard  about  it  when  I  got  back. 

Lage:    That  was  in  the  fall,  late  September,  early  October. 

Stampp:   It  was  September  and  early  October.   I  can't  remember  just  how 
things  developed.   There  was  a  kind  of  escalation  as  it  went  on. 
Very  soon,  the  Committee  on  Academic  Freedom  got  involved,  and  I 
was  on  the  committee  that  year  along  with  Professor  Jacobus  ten 
Broek,  who  was  then,  I  believe,  in  the  political  science 
department.  He  was  moved  over  from  the  Department  of  Speech. 
There  were  a  number  of  people- -Woodrow  Borah  was  for  years  in  the 
speech  department  and  moved  over  [to  the  history  department].  At 
some  point,  ten  Broek  did  move  over  to  political  science. 

The  chairman  of  the  committee  was  somebody  in  business 
administration,  Joseph  Garbarino.  Then  there  was  another  man  from 
physics  named  Carl  Helmholz  on  the  committee,  and  there  was  still 
another,  and  I  can't  remember  his  name.  Helmholz  was  in  physics, 
and  there  was  another  man  in  one  of  the  sciences  whose  name  I 
don't  remember.   The  chairman  of  the  committee  sympathized  with 
FSM  but  was  not  an  enthusiastic  supporter.   I  think  ten  Broek  and 
I  were  the  ones  who  were  most  supportive  of  it. 


Lage:    Were  the  people  traditionally  on  that  committee  more  interested  in 
faculty  issues? 

Stampp:   I  suppose  so. 

Lage:    Rind  of  a  new  set  of  problems. 

Stampp:   I  suppose  so.   I  was  on  the  committee  in  1957-58,  1960-61,  1964- 
65,  and  1966-67,  and  I  don't  remember  the  committee  fighting  for 
the  right  of  students  to  engage  in  political  activity  on  campus 
before  1964. 

Lage:    Were  you  put  into  a  central  role? 

Stampp:   Well,  the  Committee  on  Academic  Freedom  met  with  the  steering 

committee  of  FSM.   We  had  a  number  of  meetings,  I  can't  remember 
exactly  how  many,  but  I  do  have  some  vivid  memories  of  Bettina 
Aptheker,  who  was  a  member  of  the  committee,  and  Mario  Savio,  who 
was  the  head  of  FSM.   They  were  an  interesting  pair.   Bettina 
Aptheker  happened  to  be  a  student  in  my  lecture  course  that  term 
as  well.   She  was  coming  out  of  a  Communist  party  family  [daughter 
of  Herbert  Aptheker] .   She  knew  something  about  political 

Lage:    Right!   [laughs] 

Stampp:   Mario  Savio  was  a  rather  undisciplined  free  spirit,  and  I  remember 
the  meetings  of  the  steering  committee  with  the  Committee  on 
Academic  Freedom  with  Savio  always  sitting  on  the  edge  of  his 
chair  like  this  [demonstrates],  ready  to  jump  up  and  leave  if 
things  didn't  go  his  way.   They  didn't  always  go  his  way,  and  he 
would  say,  "Come  on,  let's  go,  out."  They  never  did  go  out, 
actually.   This  committee  was  their  best  hope,  1  guess,  as  far  as 
the  faculty  was  concerned. 

Bettina  would  come  up  to  me  afterwards  and  sort  of  apologize 
for  Mario's  behavior.   [laughs] 

Lage:     She  seemed  to  be  the  one  who  got  along  best,  or  one  of  the  best, 
with  the  administration,  with  the  dean  of  students  and  others. 

Stampp:   Yes,  and  with  the  Committee  on  Academic  Freedom.   Her  goals  were 
the  same,  but  she  knew  a  bit  more  about  disciplining  a  political 
movement  and  staying  in  line  and  so  on.   I  would  say  that  she  was 
the  most  sophisticated,  as  far  as  tactics  were  concerned,  of  the 
members  of  the  steering  committee. 


It  finally  led  in  December  to  the  occupation  of  the 
administration  building  by  some  700  students  and  their  arrest 
early  in  the  morning  of  December  2,  1964. 

Then  the  strike.   1  had  mixed  feelings  about  faculty 
dismissing  classes.   If  students  wanted  to  go  on  strike,  that's 
fine,  that's  their  decision.  But  there  were  students  who  did  not 
sympathize  with  the  strike,  and  several  of  them  came  and  talked  to 
me  saying,  "You  can't  make  decisions  for  us.  You  must  be  there  to 
lecture  if  we  want  to  come  to  lectures . " 

I  missed  one  class.   I  didn't  dismiss  my  class  except  once 
when  the  Committee  on  Academic  Freedom  was  meeting,  and  some  of  my 
students  were  a  little  upset  about  that.   I  held  a  special  class 
later  on  for  those  who  wanted  to  come  to  make  up  for  the  class  I 

I  really  had  very  strong  feelings  about  the  Free  Speech 
Movement.   I  sympathized  with  it,  but  also  about  our 
responsibilities  as  teachers  here,  and  not  making  these  decisions 
for  students.   If  you  dismiss  your  class,  then  you've  made  the 
decision  for  all  of  them,  whether  they  sympathize  with  it  or  not. 

In  any  case,  that  is  when  the  Committee  on  Academic  Freedom 
began  meeting  and  meeting  and  meeting.   Out  of  the  meetings  came 
the  so-called  December  8  Resolutions,  which  was  a  whole  series 
about  political  meetings  on  campus  and  the  rights  of  students  to 
speak  and  to  advocate,  and  that  led  to  a  faculty  meeting  on 
December  8.   The  night  before  that,  there  was  a  meeting  of  another 
group,  I  think  from  the  Academic  Senate.   It  was  a  group  closer  to 
Clark  Kerr  than  our  group,  and  I  remember  that  Seymour  Lipset  was 
always  in  contact  with  Clark  Kerr.  He  was  almost  like  Clark 
Kerr's  representative  on  the  campus  and  the  faculty.  Lipset  and 
Clark  Kerr  were  very  close. 

Lipset  was  not  really  in  sympathy  with  the  December  8 
Resolutions,  nor  was  Clark  Kerr.   Clark  Kerr  was  really  quite 
angry  about  this.   But  we  took  our  December  8  Resolutions  to  the 
other  meeting  of  faculty  and  read  them  to  them  and  got  their 

Lage:    Was  this  the  entire  faculty  meeting,  or  another  group  meeting? 

Stampp:   No,  it  was  another  group. 

Lage:    There  seemed  to  be  a  lot  of  groupings,  Committee  of  200-- 

Stampp:   Yes,  there  were.   I  remember  we  hammered  out  these  December  8 
Resolutions,  and  as  I  recall,  I  took  them  over  to  the  other 


meeting  and  read  them  to  them  and  got  their  approval.   Then  the 
next  day  there  was  a  faculty  meeting  in  Wheeler  Auditorium. 

Lage:    That  was  December  8,  when  they  accepted  it. 

Stampp:   That  was  December  8,  yes,  and  the  room  was  packed.   There  must 

have  been  700  or  more  members  of  the  faculty  there,  but  remember, 
it  was  a  faculty  of  1,500,  so  about  half  of  them  were  not  there. 

Lage:    Right.   But  still,  that's  a  lot  more  than  usually  came. 

Stampp:   Oh,  yes  indeed.   One  hundred  fifty  to  200  is  about  the  usual 

turnout  for  an  Academic  Senate  meeting,  unless  something  exciting 
happens.  And  the  resolutions  were  read,  I  believe  by  the  chairman 
of  our  committee. 


Now,  I  should  say  that  if  there  was  one  person  who  had  more 
input  in  working  out  these  resolutions  than  anyone  else,  that  was 
Chick  ten  Broek,  Jacobus  ten  Broek.   The  rest  of  us  made  some 
changes  and  made  some  suggestions,  and  I  had  met  with  ten  Broek  at 
his  house.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  you  know  he  was  blind. 


As  I  recall,  I  was  writing  and  he  was  throwing  out  the  ideas,  and 
then  we  came  to  the  committee  with  them. 

Lage:    That  was  the  time,  place,  and  manner  rules? 

Stampp:   That  was  the  time,  place,  and  manner  thing,  yes.   And  there  was  a 
vote,  and  my  recollection  was  that  the  faculty  overwhelmingly 
ratified.   There  were  several  who  spoke  against  them. 

Lage:    That  meeting  followed  right  on  that  Greek  Theatre  incident.   Do 
you  remember  that  disastrous  Greek  Theatre  meeting? 

Stampp:   Yes,  I  do  remember  that. 

Lage:     So  there  must  have  been  a  lot  of  emotion. 

Stampp:   When  Savio  was  grabbed  by  the  police,  wasn't  he,  and  pathetically 
said,  "I  was  just  going  to  propose  something  rather  innocent," 
which  I  had  to  doubt. 

Lage:    Were  you  beginning  by  that  time  to  be  suspicious  of  the  FSM 

Stampp:   No.   1  supported  the  FSM  through  that  winter,  and  there  were  lots 
of  other  meetings  and  incidents,  and  my  support  of  the  FSM 



Stampp : 




continued  into  and  probably  through  the  summer  of  1965.   By  the 
summer  of  '65,  it  was  merging  with  other  issues—there  was  the 
civil  rights  movement  in  the  South,  there  was  free  speech  on  the 
campus,  and  now  Vietnam.   Shall  I  go  on  from  here? 


Because  as  far  as  I'm  concerned,  the  students  won.   They  got  the 
right  to  have  political  meetings  on  campus. 

The  December  8  Resolutions  that  were  more  or  less  adopted. 

Yes,  that  was  a  victory  for  the  students,  and  they  thought  so 
themselves.   So  it  was  a  matter  of  going  on  to  other  issues,  some 
of  them  silly  issues. 

Like  the  Filthy  Speech  Movement. 

Like  the  Filthy  Speech  Movement,  yes. 
on  a  university  campus,  I  thought. 

That  really  was  a  disgrace 

I  was  away  part  of  the  summer  of  1965,  but  by  September,  the 
movement  on  the  campus  had  shifted  very  decidedly  toward  being 
anti-Vietnam,  and  this  is  where  Jerry  Rubin  comes  in.   I  remember 
him  very  well,  because  I  went  in  September  to  a  meeting  that  was 
held  in  the  Life  Science  Building,  the  big  lecture  room--I  think 
it  was  2000  LSB,  the  one  that  had  about  500  seats. 

I  remember  the  meeting  concerned  Vietnam,  and  Jerry  Rubin 
was  to  be  the  big  man.   This  to  me  was  a  shock.   He  was  about  a 
half -hour  late,  and  we  sat  and  waited,  and  then  he  came  in- -it 
looked  to  me  with  about  five  guys  with  him,  almost  like 
bodyguards.   Jerry  Rubin  began  to  look  like  a  commissar.   This 
really  turned  me  off. 

Was  it  how  he  looked,  or  also  the  way  he-- 

Not  how  he  looked.   It  was  partly  how  he  acted,  but  also,  it  was 
clear  to  me  that  Jerry  Rubin  was  thinking  in  terms  of  a  much 
broader  radical  movement  than  merely  fighting  Vietnam.   Vietnam  to 
him--and  he  was  fairly  honest  about  it--was  simply  a  way,  a  means, 
a  vehicle,  for  tearing  down  the  whole  damn  system.   I  thought 
Vietnam  and  the  opposition  to  it  was  an  issue  big  enough  in 
itself,  and  one  didn't  have  to  think  you  had  to  tear  down  the 
whole  government  in  order  to  do  something  about  Johnson's  policy 
in  Vietnam. 

That's  when  I  began  to  back  off.   My  position  then  was  that 
the  faculty  of  the  University  of  California  as  an  administrative 


body  ought  not  to  take  stands  on  issues  that  had  no  relationship 
to  academic  freedom.   I  always  advocated,  and  unsuccessfully,  when 
the  Academic  Senate  was  in  session,  that  we  recess  and  meet  as 
members  of  the  faculty,  as  individual  members  of  the  faculty,  and 
express  our  views  on  any  political  issue  we  wanted  to  express  it 
on  as  a  group  of  concerned  academics,  but  not  as  a  governing  body 
of  the  University  of  California. 

Lage:    Did  you  see  it  as  a  poor  precedent? 

Stampp:   I  saw  it  as  a  very  poor  precedent,  because  we  had  been  fighting 
for  years  against  the  regents  taking  positions  on  political 


Lage:    We  were  talking  about  the  precedent  of  injecting  the  political 
issues  in  the  university. 

Stampp:   Right.  My  memory  of  specific  times  is  vague,  but  I  do  know  that 

several  times,  there  were  meetings  where  people  were  trying  to  get 
the  faculty  as  the  Academic  Senate  to  take  political  stands,  and  a 
couple  of  times  they  succeeded.   I  was  very  unhappy  about  that, 
because  I  remember  the  regents  taking  stands  as  a  governing  body 
on  issues,  and  we  didn't  like  the  stands  they  were  taking,  and  our 
protest  was  that  they  shouldn't  be  doing  these  things  in  the  name 
of  the  university.   So  now  we  were  doing  it.   Of  course,  our 
issues  were  all  the  good  issues  and  theirs  were  all  the  bad 
issues,  but  I  thought  one  side  was  as  bad  as  the  other  on  that. 

Division  Among  the  Faculty 

Lage:    In  the  history  department,  how  did  the  faculty  break  down  over 

response  to  FSM  and  the  kind  of  issue  you  just  described?  Was  it 
a  fairly  tense  time? 

Stampp:   It  was  a  tense  time,  and  there  were  men—I  guess  it  was  a  men's 
department  still. 

Lage:     [laughs]   I  think  it  pretty  much  was. 

Stampp:   Adrienne  Koch  had  left  some  time  during  this  period.   Yes,  the 

department  divided.  There  were  several  members  of  the  department 
who  were  disgusted  with  the  whole  thing,  with  the  administration, 
everything.  I  know  David  Landes  was  here,  and  he  had  an  offer 



Stampp : 




from  Harvard  in  economics --but  also  he  had  a  part  appointment  in 
history—and  Henry  Rosovsky.  Both  were  disgusted,  and  they  left. 

Now,  were  they  disgusted  because  they  thought  the  administration 
was  giving  in  to  the  students? 

They  were  disgusted  with  the  whole  business,  with  the  whole  thing. 
With  the  behavior  of  the  administration  and  the  behavior  of 
student  leaders.   I  remember  some  demonstration  one  night  on 
campus,  it  was  in  what  was  then  the  student  union,  that  sort  of 
imitation  castle  down  there- - 

Right,  Stephens  Hall. 

Yes.  I  remember  David  Landes  being  there  and  saying,  "This  really 
does  it.  I'm  getting  out."  There  were  a  number  of  members  of  the 
faculty  who  got  out.  In  the  history  department — 

Henry  May  was  chairman  during  that  year  of  FSM. 

--Henry  May  was  chairman  and  was  terribly  upset  about  the  whole 
thing.   He  was  very  ambivalent  about  the  student  thing  and  very 
concerned  about  what  it  was  doing  to  the  university,  and  certainly 
was  not  an  all-out  supporter  of  the  Free  Speech  Movement,  even  in 
the  fall  of  1964.   Charlie  Sellers  was  probably  the  most  ardent 
and  unqualif ied--well,  I've  got  to  add  a  couple.   So  was  Carl 

As  I  said,  at  that  time,  I  was,  too.   I  would  say  that  there 
was  a  middle  group  of  people  like  Hans  Rosenberg,  who  was  not  an 
activist  but  certainly  gave  his  support  to  the  movement.   Then 
there  were  others  who  really  didn't  like  it  at  all;  Ray  Sontag, 
for  example,  was  very  much  against  it.  Martin  Malia  was  very 
strongly  opposed  to  it. 

Was  it  generational  at  all? 
it  here. 

It  doesn't  sound  so  as  you  describe 


No,  I  don't  think  so.   It  was,  I  suppose,  partly  ideological  and 
also  depended  on  how  important  you  think  it  was  for  students  to  be 
able  to  agitate  on  campus .   I  suppose  you  can  make  a  case  that 
that's  not  what  students  are  supposed  to  be  doing  on  campus.   I 
don '  t  know . 

Was  it  a  threat  to  departmental  unity,  or  was  there  a  good  measure 
of  civility,  or  how  did  it  go? 


Stampp:   Well,  yes.  You  know,  the  thing  got  violent,  and  the  police  were 
coming  on  campus.   Reagan  was  elected  in  1966,  Clark  Kerr  was 

Lage:    Yes.   It  got  more  heated  later. 

Stampp:   --and  the  firing  of  Clark  Kerr  really  brought  the  faculty 

together,  I  suppose,  more  than  anything  after  the  crisis  of  the 
Free  Speech  Movement.   There  was  just  universal  indignation  about 



Stampp : 

Even  though  the  faculty  had  been  a  bit  disillusioned  with  Kerr, 


That's  right.  Well,  I  was,  and  those  who  were  really  supporting 
the  movement.   Clark  Kerr  was  very  angry  at  the  Committee  on 
Academic  Freedom  for  what  they  did  and  for  the  December  8 
Resolutions.   Clark  Kerr,  I  suppose,  was  an  example  of  one  of  the 
dangers  when  a  member  of  the  faculty  becomes  president  of  the 
university  or  a  chancellor.   Coming  from  the  faculty,  he  has  a 
feeling  that  the  faculty  ought  to  trust  him.   Clark  Kerr  on  a 
number  of  occasions  sounded  off  about  how  ungrateful  we  were  for 
the  things  he  did.   I  sat  in  his  office  one  time  when  he  turned  to 
me  and  said  that  he  had  supported  the  appointment  of  someone  who 
had  been  a  member  of  the  Communist  party  some  time  ago,  and  I 
ought  to  be  grateful  about  that.   That  was  one  of  the  problems. 

However,  when  the  regents  fired  Clark  Kerr,  that  was 
something  else.   We  might  not  be  on  the  best  of  terms  with  Clark 
Kerr,  and  he  with  us,  but  for  this  Board  of  Regents  to  fire  him, 
with  the  urging  of  Reagan,  was  an  outrage. 

I  remember  the  bumper  stickers:  "Chicken  Little  was  right." 

Yes,  yes. 

People  were  scared,  I  think,  for  the  university. 

Right.   So  to  illustrate,  I  guess,  how  they  all  came  together,  1 
was  on  one  side  and  Martin  Malia  way  on  the  other  side,  but  Martin 
Malia  and  I  got  together  and  wrote  a  letter  to  the  Chronicle  about 
the  behavior  of  the  regents  and  the  behavior  of  the  governor,  and 
said  it  was  an  absolute  disgrace  what  they  had  done.   On  that  we 
could  agree. 

Then  we  had  a  big  indignation  meeting  about  the  firing  of 
Clark  Kerr.   There  were  two  groups,  if  you  can  call  left  and  right 
here,  left  and  center:  one  that  Howard  Schachman  and  Charlie 


Sellers  were  involved  with,  and  then  a  somewhat  more  moderate 
group  that  I  was  involved  with.  We  ultimately  came  together  on 
some  resolutions  that  we  thought  should  be  adopted  by  the  faculty. 

There  was  a  big  faculty  meeting—again,  I  can't  remember  the 
room  it  was  in- -but  I  was  the  one  delegated  to  read  these 
resolutions  to  the  faculty,  and  then  we  defended  them.  They  were 
passed  almost  unanimously  by  the  faculty—conservatives,  middle- 
of-the-roaders,  radicals— everyone  could  at  least  agree  that  what 
the  regents  had  done  was  outrageous  and  disgraceful. 

Lage:   So  that's  '67.  Kerr  was  fired  in  January. 
Stampp:   '67,  yes.  We're  up  to  '67  now. 

Now,  somewhere  in  that  period,  in  that  time  frame,  there  was 
the  question  of  Arthur  Goldberg  coming  to  Berkeley  to  speak  in 
defense  of  the  Johnson  administration  and  its  Vietnam  policy. 

Lage:    I  couldn't  find  a  date  for  that,  but  I'm  sure  we  can  somewhere. 

Stampp:   Yes,  I  just  can't  tell  you  when  it  was.   It  was  obviously  sometime 
in  '66  or  '67  [it  was  March  1966].   It  was  before  the  election  of 
'68.   Once  again,  I  was  simply  appalled  when  I  found  that  what  had 
been  the  FSM  was  determined  not  to  let  Arthur  Goldberg  speak  here. 
This  seemed  to  me  outrageous.   If  you  don't  like  what  he  has  to 
say,  you  can  not  attend,  whatever,  but  to  say  he  cannot  come  on 
the  campus  seemed  to  me  was  violating  everything  that  the  FSM  had 
stood  for  in  1964. 

Well,  ultimately,  they  had  to  work  out  a  compromise.   They 
would  let  Goldberg  speak,  provided  afterwards  he  would  come  into 
the  men's  gym  and  they  would  have  another  meeting  at  which  I  think 
Reggie  Zelnick  was  going  to  preside.   Someone  with  an  appointment 
in  history  and  sociology  was  going  to  refute  Goldberg  or  debate 
Goldberg— Franz  Schurmann  was  going  to  debate. 

In  1966- '67,  another  group  had  formed,  and  I  can't  remember 
all  the  members  of  it,  but  Martin  Malia  was  in  it,  and  a  man  in 
chemical  engineering,  [Charles]  Susskind.  These  were  very 
conservative  people,  and  I  felt  rather  uncomfortable  with  them. 

Lage:    Among  them? 

Stampp:   Among  them.   I  was  sort  of  the  left  wing  of  that  group,  but  I  did 
sympathize  with  some  of  their  criticism  of  the  student  movement. 

Lage:    Was  this  an  ad-hoc  group  of  faculty? 


Stampp:   It  was  an  ad-hoc  group  of  faculty,  and  we  met  a  number  of  times  in 
the  Faculty  Club.  We  didn't  do  very  much,  but  talked,  anyway. 

Personal  Political  Views 

Lage:    So  you  must  have  been  pretty  disturbed  to  get  involved  in  a  group 
that  wasn't  your  usual  sort,  politically. 

Stampp:   Yes,  and  I  was  basically  much  more  liberal  or  left-wing.   Through 
all  of  this  I  always  thought  of  myself  as  a  left-wing  Democrat, 
somebody  who  had  left  the  Socialist  party  and  gone  over  to  the 
very  left  wing  of  the  Democratic  party,  on  all  kinds  of  social 
issues—on  civil  rights  and  on  integration  and  on  economic  issues, 
that's  where  I  still  stood. 

Lage:    And  the  war.  Were  you  opposed  to  the  war? 

Stampp:   The  war  in  Vietnam?  Totally  opposed  to  it!  Absolutely  opposed  to 

Lage:    I  thought  so,  but  it  doesn't  hurt  to  put  it  on  the  record. 

Stampp:   Well,  yes.   But  that  didn't  mean  I  wanted  the  faculty  of  the 
University  of  California  as  part  of  the  governing  body  of  the 
university  to  be  taking  political  stands,  even  on  issues  like 
Vietnam.   If  it  were  something  involving  academic  freedom  or 
censorship,  fine.   I  mean,  these  are  things  that  directly  concern 
an  academic  community. 

Lage:    Did  the  student  movement  seem  very  different  to  you  than  what  you 
had  been  involved  in  yourself  in  the  thirties?  How  would  you 
characterize  the  two  movements? 

Stampp:   Oh,  dear. 

Lage:    As  an  old  left  looking  at  the  new  left. 

Stampp:   Yes.   [pause]  Well,  the  student  movement,  to  the  extent  that 

there  was  a  student  movement  at  Wisconsin  when  I  was  there,  was 
not  comparable  as  a  student  movement  to  the  FSM  movement  here. 
The  Depression  didn't  really  do  that.   Everybody  was  so  worried 
about  jobs  and  about  the  economy  that  it  didn't  really  lead  to 
that.   Roosevelt  in  office  meant  that.   If  Hoover  had  been  in 
office,  there  might  have  been  a  much  more  organized  political 
movement,  but  Roosevelt  took  over  and  disarmed,  almost,  people 
like  me. 


Lage:    Of  course,  Johnson  sort  of  disarmed  the  civil  rights  activity. 

Stampp:   Absolutely,  absolutely,  and  this  was  terrible.   I  was  an  ardent 

supporter  of  Lyndon  Johnson  in  1964.   The  only  president  I've  ever 
written  to,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  was  Lyndon  Johnson  on  civil 
rights ,  congratulating  him  on  sponsoring  the  Civil  Rights  Acts  and 
telling  how  great  I  thought  it  was  that  ultimately,  it  was  a 
Southerner  who  came  forward  with  the  civil  rights  legislation.   So 
my  turning  against  Johnson  was  always  on  Vietnam. 

I  had  no  quarrel  with  Johnson's  social  policies  and  civil 
rights  policies  and  so  on,  but  I  certainly  wasn't  going  to  vote 
for  him  in  1968.   It  was  terribly  disillusioning.   I  was  very 
upset  when  the  convention  nominated  Hubert  Humphrey  because  of 
his,  what  seemed  to  me,  sycophantic  support  of  Lyndon  Johnson  when 
Hubert  Humphrey  knew  better. 

Lage:    Yes,  he  had  been  such  a  good  liberal. 

Stampp:   Yes.   He  should  never  have  supported  Johnson,  he  should  have 
broken  with  him  on  that. 

Lage:     So  you  weren't  happy  with  what  was  happening  with  Vietnam,  but 
also  not  happy  with  the  way  it  was  going  on  the  campus. 

Stampp:   Well,  I  can  only  say  I  was  absolutely,  totally  opposed  to  our 

policy  in  Vietnam,  I  thought  we  should  have  got  out  of  Vietnam. 


[laughs]   Did  I  tell  you  about  going  to  South  America  in 

Lage:    No. 

Stampp:  Well,  this  is  connected.   It's  a  silly  incident.   I  was  invited  to 
attend  an  international  Hispanic  and  American  conference  on  the 
comparative  history  of  slavery,  and  we  met  for  a  week  in  Rio  de 
Janeiro  and  then  went  to  Chile,  to  Santiago.  While  we  were  in  Rio 
de  Janeiro,  my  wife  and  I  had  an  anniversary,  and  we  had  dinner 
alone  together  and  decided,  rather  recklessly,  I  guess,  knowing 
Rio,  to  walk  home  from  the  restaurant  at  midnight,  and  that  was 
not  very  wise.   The  innocence  somehow  helped,  and  nothing 

We  suddenly  found  ourselves  in  front  of  the  American 
consulate.   We  had  a  lot  of  wine  with  dinner.   I  remember  yelling 
inside,  "Get  out  of  Vietnam!"   [laughter]  Well,  that  was  1967. 


Black  Nationalism,  Black  Studies  Program 

Stampp:   Now  things  are  shifting  again.  Now  the  black  revolution  comes  in, 
so  you  have  the  Free  Speech  Movement,  you  have  Vietnam,  you  have 
the  civil  rights  movement  in  the  South,  and  now  you  have  black 

Lage:    Which  also  came  onto  campus. 

Stampp:   That  came  on  campus.  Then  by  1967  or  '68,  the  question  of  a  black 
studies  department  came  up,  and  at  this  time,  Walter  Knight  was 
dean  of  the  College  of  Letters  and  Science.   I  was  invited  because 
of  my  own  research  interest  to  attend  a  meeting,  and  I  really  was 
worried  about  a  black  studies  department.   Looking  back  now,  I 
think  it  was  inevitable,  and  I  guess  we  had  to  have  it,  but  I 
always  felt  that  black  history  ought  to  be  part  of  American 
history,  and  that  we  ought  to  be  teaching  more  black  history  in 
our  American  history  survey  course.   1  think  I  was  wrong,  but  I 
was  not  sure  that  I  thought  it  was  a  good  idea  to  have  a  course 
just  in  the  history  of  blacks  in  America.   I  think  I  was  wrong. 

Lage:    Now,  why  do  you  think  you  were  wrong,  in  retrospect? 

Stampp:   Well,  I  think  it  was  necessary.   1  think  it  was  necessary  from  the 
standpoint  of  the  black  community,  to  have  this  recognition,  and  I 
suppose  in  academic  terms,  it  was  kind  of  affirmative  action. 
"Now  we're  going  to  get  a  course  where  we  talk  about  blacks."  I 
hoped,  and  1  still  hope,  that  it's  a  temporary  thing  and  that 
ultimately  black  history  will  have  become  so  much  a  part  of 
American  history  that  we  won't  feel  the  need  for  it  any  more  than 
we  feel  the  need  for  a  course  in  German  history  in  America  or 
Italian  history  or  whatever.   But  I  think  now  that  it  was  probably 

For  me  personally,  this  created  a  problem  1  never 
anticipated,  because  part  of  the  black  nationalist  ideology  was 
that  no  white  man  or  woman  could  ever  understand  black  history  or 
black  culture  or  what  it  meant  to  be  black  in  America,  and  there  I 
was  with  my  book  on  slavery. 

Lage:    But  one  that  was  pretty  well  respected  by  blacks,  wasn't  it? 

Stampp:   Well,  yes.   When  it  came  out,  there  were  white  Southerners  who 

didn't  like  it,  and  now,  suddenly,  I  found  blacks  who  didn't  like 

Lage:    Did  they  have  specific  objections  to  the  book,  or  just  to  the  fact 
that  it  was  written  by  a  white  person? 


Stampp:   It  hit  me  suddenly  in  the  summer  of  1968.   I  told  you  earlier 

about  attending  a  meeting  on  black  history  and  black  studies  at 
Wayne  State  University  in  Detroit  and  confronting  a  group  of  black 
militants  who  felt  that  whites  could  never  understand  black 

Lage:    Well,  it  just  struck  me  that  this  is  only  six  years  after  Carl 

Bridenbaugh  made  his  speech  saying  that  the  immigrant  generation 
couldn't  write  about  American  history. 

Stampp:   That's  right. 

Lage:    It's  like  a  different  world,  but  the  same  argument,  in  a  way. 

Stampp:   That's  right.  Absolutely. 

Well,  I  think  the  answer  is  that  we  try  our  best.   I 
certainly  tried  my  best  to  understand  what  it  was  like,  and  I  did 
make  the  concession  at  one  point  in  my  slavery  book  that  probably 
no  one  who's  never  been  a  slave  could  possibly  understand  what  the 
experience  was  like,  of  being  a  slave. 

Lage:    Even  a  black  free  person  would  have  trouble. 
Stampp:   Yes. 

About  the  same  time,  1968  or  "69,  I  was  invited  to  attend 
another  conference  on  black  history  at,  I  think  it  was,  Evergreen 
College  in  Seattle.   This  was  another  experience.   A  group  of 
Black  Panthers  were  also  invited  to  attend,  and  we,  the  whites, 
had  to  sit  and  watch  a  group  of  Black  Panthers  up  on  the  platform 
having  a  rap  session,  and  letting  us  have  it  left  and  right.  We 
were  all  pretty  intimidated,  too,  I  must  say. 

Lage:    Did  you  know  that  was  the  setup  when  you  went  up  there? 

Stampp:   I  can't  remember.   It  wouldn't  have  made  any  difference,  as  far  as 
I'm  concerned,  if  I  had  known;  I  would  have  gone  anyway. 

Lage:    And  did  your  group  have  a  reply,  or  how  was  it  set  up? 
Stampp:   No,  I  don't  think  we  replied. 
Lage:    Just  two  separate-- 

Stampp:   Well,  there  was  no  group.   I  mean,  there  were  some  of  us  invited 
to  speak  there,  and  I  was  one  who  was  invited  to  speak.   I  did 
speak.  No,  I  think  this  was  simply  a  matter  of  our  sitting  and 




Stampp : 


Stampp : 

listening  to  them  sounding  off.  And  they  did  sound  off,  all 

Now,  Berkeley  had  a  lot  of  historians  who  wrote  about  black 

Sellers,  Litwack,  Levine,  Win  Jordan. 

Right.   I  don't  remember  any  black  historians, 
effort  to  change  this? 

Was  there  an 

Yes.  We  considered  several  people.  I'm  sorry,  I'm  not  going  to 
be  very  good  on  the  names,  because  it  was  way  back.  We  did  make 
an  effort,  and  not  successfully,  to  get  black  historians  there. 

Not  successfully  because  they  went  elsewhere? 

Well,  they  went  elsewhere,  yes.  As  I  recall,  we  had  a  visitor 
here—he's  dead  now,  I  can't  remember  his  name.   He  was  a  Berkeley 
Ph.D.,  and  he  went  to  Harvard  and  became  the  head  of  their  Black 
Studies  Program  at  Harvard  instead  of  coming  here.   There  was 
another  in  Chicago,  I  remember  we  invited  him,  and  he  decided  not 
to  come  at  that  time. 

There  was  a  lot  of  competition. 

Yes.   There  was  a  lot  of  competition  for  very  few  people,  and  we 
were  trying  not  just  to  bring  a  black  here  for  the  sake  of  having 
a  black,  although  we  certainly  felt  the  need  to  have  one.   I  think 
most  of  us  felt  that  you  only  defeat  what  you're  trying  to  achieve 
if  you  bring  somebody  who  simply  is  not  qualified  to  teach  and  to 
do  research  at  the  level  that  we  hope  to  maintain  at  Berkeley. 

So  finally,  we  got  Waldo  Martin  to  come  here.  And  then-- 
what  was  the  year—there  was  another  historian  in  the  black 
studies  department  here,  Albert  J.  Raboteau,  who  ultimately  went 
to  Princeton,  and  he  wrote  a  book  about  black  religion.  As  far  as 
I  know,  he's  still  at  Princeton,  but  he  was  here  for  a  time.   I 
remember  talking  to  him  a  lot  about  black  religion  at  a  time  when 
I  was  sort  of  revising  some  of  my  views  about  the  importance  of 
the  church  and  Christianity  in  black  culture. 

I  think  that ' s  about  all  I  have  to  say  about  the  late 

Lage:    Do  you  have  any  other  recollection  of  the  third  world  college 
idea?  Were  you  involved? 


Stampp:  I  was  not,  since  I  had  reservations  about  it,  I  was  out. 
frozen  out  totally  and  really  had  nothing  to  do  with  it, 
would  have  to  talk  to  Leon  Litwack  about  that. 

Lage:    Okay. 

Stampp:   Or  Larry  Levine. 

I  was 

Student  Strike.  1970;  Rights  and  Responsibilities 

Lage:    Do  you  remember—it  seems  to  me  that  in  the  late  sixties,  the 

atmosphere  on  campus  was  very  different,  the  fire  and  then  tear 
gas  on  campus . 

Stampp:   Right,  I  do  remember  that.   I  remember  Bob  Middlekauff  talking  to 
teaching  assistants—this  gets  us  to  Cambodia. 

Lage:    Right,  into  the  seventies. 

Stampp:   Nineteen- seventy  and  Cambodia,  the  Cambodian  invasion,  and  the 

strike  on  campus.   Once  again,  I  did  not  sympathize  with  faculty 
who  dismissed  their  classes.   Charlie  Sellers  simply  told  his 
students,  "Go  out  and  work  for  peace."   Gave  them  all  grades. 
Incidentally,  he  picked  up  his  paychecks,  but  his  readers  lost 
their  jobs  and  lost  their  money. 

I  thought  he  ought  to  have  paid  them.   One  of  them  happened 
to  be  a  student  of  mine  who  came  in  rather  bewildered  and  said, 
"My  income  is  gone  because  Sellers  isn't  teaching  his  course." 
There  were  other  members  of  the  faculty  who  just  dismissed  their 
students  and  told  them  to  go  out  and  work  for  peace,  and  gave  them 
all  A's  or  all  B's  or  something  like  that.   I  thought  that  was 
just  outrageous. 

If  you  want  to  know  exactly  what  I  felt,  I  thought  the 
Committee  on  Privilege  and  Tenure  should  have  met.   If  tenure 
means  something,  it  also  means  you  have  responsibilities,  and  I 
frankly  would  have  fired  a  couple  of  these  people  who  kept  picking 
up  their  paychecks  and  not  teaching. 

Lage:    Did  the  department  take  stands  on  that? 

Stampp:   Not  as  a  department.   I  remember  Bob  Middlekauff --this  is  why  I 

suddenly  remembered  the  Cambodian  thing.   We  had  a  department 

meeting,  and  Bob  Middlekauff  was  in  charge  of  T.A.  appointments, 

teaching  assistant  appointments.   He  said,  "Do  as  you  want,  but  I 


want  to  tell  you,  if  you  don't  teach  your  classes,  I'm  not  going 
to  recommend  you  for  reappointment  next  year."  And  it  would  take 
a  Bob  Middlekauff  to  do  it. 

Lage:     [laughs]   But  he  couldn't  say  that  to  the  professors. 

Stampp:   He  couldn't  say  it  to  the  professors,  that's  right,  but  he  could 
say  it  to  the  teaching  assistants. 

Lage:    So  did  the  teaching  assistants  fall  in  line  pretty  much? 

Stampp:   Some  did  and  some  didn't. 

Lage:    Did  you  have  any  particular  problems  with  yours? 

Stampp:   1  had  no  teaching  assistants  at  that  time.   I  was  not  teaching  in 
the  survey  course  at  that  time,  so  it  had  nothing  to  do  with  me. 
My  readers  kept  reading. 

Lage:    It  was  very  divisive,  it  seems. 
Stampp:   It  was  very  divisive,  yes,  indeed. 

Politics  and  the  Organization  of  American  Historians 

Lage:  Let's  see.  You  also  mentioned—actually,  I  can't  quite  remember-- 
your  opposition  to  the  OAH's  [Organization  of  American  Historians] 
taking  a  stand. 

Stampp:   Yes.   There  was  a  meeting  of  the  Organization  of  American 

Historians  in  Los  Angeles  in  April  of  1970,  while  the  Cambodia 
thing  was  still  very  hot,  and  at  the  business  meeting  of  the 
Organization  of  American  Historians,  someone  came  forward  with  a 
proposal  that  the  Organization  of  American  Historians,  as  an 
organization  of  historians,  denounce  the  Cambodian  incursion  or 
invasion.  Merrill  Jensen  was  president  of  the  OAH  at  that  time, 
and  I  got  up  and  made  a  motion  that  the  business  meeting  of  the 
OAH  recess  so  that  those  members  who  want  to  meet  and  discuss 
Cambodia,  and  whatever  else  they  want  to  discuss,  could  do  it  and 
take  what  action  they  would  like  to  as  individuals. 

Lage:    Similar  to  your  stand,  your  recommendation,  for  the  university. 
Stampp:   Right,  exactly. 


Stampp:   I  made  my  motion.   I  believe  we  adjourned  for  dinner  and  then  came 
back.   That's  my  recollection.   I  know  that  I  was  in  a  small 
minority.  My  good  friend  Richard  Current  was  there,  I  knew  he  was 
going  to  vote  with  me.  David  Potter  was  there,  David  Potter  of 
Stanford;  I  knew  he  was  going  to  vote  with  me. 

Sitting  next  to  me  was  Ed  Morgan  of  Yale,  and  he  turned  to 
me  and  said,  "You're  going  to  tear  the  organization  apart  with 
your  motion."  I  said,  "Well,  the  guy  who  made  the  motion  is  going 
to  tear  us  apart,  too.   It's  going  to  be  torn  apart  one  way  or  the 

Anyway,  the  vote  came,  and  I  would  say  at  least  two-thirds 
of  the  members  of  the  organization  voted  me  down,  and  then  they 
adopted  their  resolution  denouncing  Vietnam.   So  the  OAH  was 
taking  political  action,  and  the  men  and  women  who  were  so 
enthusiastic  about  it--if  somebody  on  the  other  side  would  have 
offered  resolutions  supporting  Nixon,  they  would  have  been 
terribly  indignant  about  it,  and  over  a  lot  of  other  things  that  I 
can  think  of  that  somebody  might  have  made  a  motion  for. 

Well,  I  still  think  I  was  right,  and  I  would  do  it  again  if 
I  had  to. 

Lage:    Did  it  tear  the  organization  apart? 

Stampp:   Yes.   There  was  a  very  substantial  number  of  moderate  and  I  guess 
conservative  historians  who  were  appalled—some  of  them  quit,  but 
1  would  say  most  of  them  simply  opted  out.   They  just  wanted  to 
have  nothing  more  to  do  with  the  government  of  the  OAH.   The 
organization  was  politicized,  and  it  was  politicized,  in  my 
opinion,  by  a  group  of  political  activists.   Eric  Foner,  in  my 
opinion,  was  one  of  them.   I  think  that  a  succession  of  presidents 
of  the  organization  was  being  chosen  on  the  basis  of  their 
political  positions  more  than  on  the  basis  of  their  scholarship. 
I  know  that  an  awful  lot  of  very  good  scholars  were  passed  over. 

Lage:    In  these  years? 

Stampp:   In  these  years,  yes,  in  the  seventies,  and  the  eighties,  for  that 
matter.   I  can't  think  of  any  other  reason  except  political 
reasons.   I'm  not  naming  names,  but  I  could  list  a  dozen 
historians  who  never  became  president  of  the  OAH,  and  every  one  of 
them  should  have  been.  A  couple  in  our  department,  as  a  matter  of 
fact,  should  have. 

Lage:    Now,  when  you  say  should  have  been,  how  does  someone  come  to  the 
fore  as  a  person  who  should  be  president? 


Stampp:   Should  have  been?  Why  do  I  say  they  should  have  been? 
Lage:    Yes. 

Stampp:   On  the  basis  of  their  scholarship  and  their  distinction  in  the 

profession,  they  should  have  been  president.  And  presumably,  the 
presidency  of  the  OAH  or  the  AHA--you  don't  choose  the  president 
because  he's  going  to  become  the  great  leader  of  the  organization; 
he's  president  for  one  year.  You  can't  establish  policies  and  see 
that  they're  carried  out.  You  can  do  a  few  things,  but  they're 
supposedly  chosen  because  they  were  distinguished  scholars,  and 
it's  a  recognition  of  them.   For  one  year,  they  speak  for  the 
organization,  I  suppose.   That's  all. 

President  of  the  OAH,  1977-1978 

Stampp:   I  accomplished  one  thing  during  the  year  I  was  president  of  the 

Lage:    Now,  when  was  that? 

Stampp:   '77- '78. 

Lage:    So  it  wasn't  that  much  after  this,  really. 

Stampp:   It  was  several  years.  At  that  time,  we  had  contested  elections. 
The  nominating  committee  would  nominate  two  candidates,  and  in  my 
case  I  was  nominated  and  so  was  William  Appleman  Williams- -the 
left  and  the  right,  the  fascist  and  the  socialist,  that's  what  it 
was.   [laughter] 

Lage:    Did  you  see  it  that  way,  that  they  were  putting  forth--? 

Stampp:   Well,  obviously.   They  called  me  up,  I'm  the  notorious 

conservative  who  had  opposed  their  Cambodia  resolution,  so  they 
were  going  to  have  a  wonderful  election  in  which  a  good  radical 
like  William  Appleman  Williams  would  run  against  this  conservative 
candidate.   I  still  can't  think  of  myself  as  a  conservative. 

Lage:     [laughs]   I  can  imagine! 

Stampp:   1  won  the  election,  but  there  was  a  substantial  group  that  voted 
against  me.  Actually,  we  had  to  draw  platforms.   It  was 


And  that  was  new  to  the  process,  it  sounds  like. 


Stampp : 




These  elections  had  been  going  on  for  some  years,  and  I  thought 
they  were  ridiculous.   Presumably,  you're  going  to  nominate  two 
distinguished  historians,  and  I  didn't  see  any  reason  why  one 
distinguished  historian  should  end  his  career  knowing  he  was 
defeated  for  the  presidency  of  the  OAH.  The  only  thing  that  was 
really  in  my  platform  was  that  I  was  going  to  get  rid  of  this 
election  system.   So  I  proposed  it  at  a  business  meeting,  and  we 

got  rid  of  it. 

That's  the  one  thing  I  can  think  of  that  I 

Well,  there  must  have  been  others  besides  yourself  who— 

The  result  was  that  the  nominating  committee,  chaired  by  Eric 
Foner,  after  I  succeeded  in  doing  that,  nominated  William  Appleman 
Williams  for  president  the  next  year,  and  so  he  was  elected 
president  the  next  year.   [laughter] 

That's  very  interesting.  Were  there  more  politics  in  that 
organization  that  we  should  uncover  here? 

I  don't  suppose  any  organization  of  this  kind  can  ever  be  totally 
free  of  politics.   It  was  certainly  not  free  of  politics  during 
World  War  I  and  not  totally  free  during  World  War  II.   I  don't 
remember  any  time  when  the  OAH  became  as  politicized  as  it  had 
become  by  the  1970s  and  the  late  1960s. 

Was  there  more  as  president  that  you  dealt  with  along  those  lines? 

Oh,  dear,  yes.   There  was  another  issue  involving  Herbert 
Aptheker.  Yale  University  at  that  time  had  a  policy  of  permitting 
groups  of  students  to  propose  bringing  someone  in  to  teach  some 
specific  course  for  a  year.  Yale  University—or  rather,  a  group 
of  students  at  Yale  University—proposed  bringing  in  Herbert 
Aptheker  for  a  term  to  teach;  he  was  going  to  be  there  for  a  term. 
That  was  it;  it  was  not  putting  him  on  the  faculty. 

A  number  of  members  of  the  history  department,  including  C. 
Vann  Woodward  and  John  Blassingame,  their  black  historian,  went  to 
a  department  meeting  and  spoke  against  it.  The  appointee  had  to 
have  the  sponsorship  of  a  department.  That  was  it.  The  history 
department  refused  to  sponsor  Herbert  Aptheker,  and  I  know  the 
reason  why  Woodward  spoke  against  it.  He  was  on  the  advisory 
board  of  a  publication  project,  and  Aptheker  was  editing  the 
papers  of  [W.  E.  B.]  DuBois.  Woodward  thought  that  Aptheker  was 
keeping  some  things  out  and  putting  in  a  lot  of  junk  simply 
because  some  famous  person  had  written  to  DuBois.   He  thought  that 
Aptheker  was  betraying  his  responsibility,  and  he  didn't  want 
Aptheker  teaching  at  Yale  because  of  that  experience. 


Blassingame  agreed.   So  there  was  a  black  historian  there 
who  sided  with  Woodward. 

Well,  the  result  was  that  the  students  went  to  another 
department,  went  to  the  political  science  department,  and  the 
political  science  department  agreed  to  sponsor  him.  Well,  this 
had  never  happened  at  Yale  before,  that  some  department  had 
refused  to  sponsor  someone  and  then  another  department  stepped  in 
and  did  it.   So  there  was  a  faculty  meeting,  and  Woodward  got  up 
at  the  faculty  meeting  and  spoke  against  it,  and  it  was  voted 

This  became  a  big  academic  freedom  issue,  and  a  complaint 
was  made  to  the  OAH.  A  proposal  was  made  that  we  should  censure-- 
I  can't  remember  now  whether  we  would  censure  just  C.  Vann 
Woodward  or  the  Yale  History  Department.   I  was  president  of  the 
organization,  and  so  we  had  to  deal  with  this.   I  went  several 
times  and  met,  of  all  places,  in  the  Hilton  Hotel  at  O'Hare 
Airport  to  talk  about  this  issue. 

I  was  opposed  to  the  resolution;  I  didn't  think  we  should 
censure  Woodward.   It  came  up  at  the  meeting  of  the  council  of  the 
OAH,  and  I  relinquished  my  position  as  chairman  so  that  I  could 
speak  against  it. 

Lage:    What  was  your  point  of  view? 

Stampp:   I  was  very  blunt  about  it.   I  said,  "This  is  an  attempt  to  censure 
C.  Vann  Woodward,  and  C.  Vann  Woodward  has  been  a  staunch 
supporter  of  academic  freedom  and  civil  rights,  and  he  had  reasons 
why  he  did  this.   You  all  don't  know  what  his  motives  are.   You 
are  going  to,  in  effect,  say  that  this  man  is  an  enemy  of  academic 
freedom. " 

And  I  won.  We  had  a  vote,  a  secret  vote,  and  they  were 
voted  down.   Several  radicals  on  it  were  very  angry  with  me  again 
about  this,  but  it  was  voted  down  at  the  business  meeting  as  well, 
and  that  was  the  end  of  it.  That  took  more  time  than  anything. 

Lage:     It  sounds  worse  than  being  department  chairman. 

Stampp:  [laughs]  Yes,  well,  things  like  that  don't  come  up  every  year. 
It  just  happened  to  come  up  at  that  time.  So  once  again,  I  did 
something  less  than  endear  myself  to  the  left-wing  view.  [laughs] 

Lage:    Well,  that's  a  very  interesting  change.   It  doesn't  seem  totally 
about  academic  freedom  but  about  qualification  to  teach. 


Stampp:   Those  who  supported  Aptheker  were  making  it  an  academic  freedom 
issue,  and  I  couldn't  see  it  that  way.   I  just  couldn't  see  it 
that  way  at  all. 

Consequences  of  Campus  Activism 

Lage:    There's  a  lot  of  talk  about  how  this  decade  or  more  of  student 
activism  and  politicization  changed  the  university,  in  terms  of 
education.   There  were  several  educational  reform  movements. 

Stampp:   Oh,  yes.   The  Muscatine  Report. 

Lage :    And  the  Strawberry  College  experiment . 

Stampp:   Yes.   I'm  in  favor  of  things  of  that  sort.  Any  kind  of 

experiment.   Charlie  Sellers  was  involved  in  that,  and- -I'm  trying 
to  remember  the  name  of  someone  in  philosophy  who  was  also 
involved . 

Lage:    Tussman? 

Stampp:   Joe  Tussman,  yes.   He  and  I  were  high  school  graduates  together  in 
Milwaukee.  No,  I'm  all  for  things  like  that.  Any  time  any  group 
of  faculty  people  want  to  try  something,  by  all  means,  if  they  can 
get  the  wherewithal  to  do  it,  by  all  means  do  it. 

Lage:    Did  this  whole  episode  with  FSM  and  faculty  involvement  make  any 
permanent  changes? 

Stampp:   Well,  the  big  thing  which  makes  everything  else  unimportant:  we 

finally  got  rid  of  the  stupid  rules  about  students  not  being  able 
to  advocate  political  causes  on  campus,  and  it's  not  an  issue  any 
more.   They  meet,  and  they  can  have  rooms,  they  can  set  up  tables, 
they  can  advocate  anything  they  want.  They  can  speak  on  Sproul 
Hall  steps-- 

Lage:    And  have  speakers  on  campus. 

Stampp:   --and  have  speakers  on  campus  advocating  everything,  yes.   That  is 
a  tremendous  improvement.   But  it  did  have  some  consequences.   It 
embittered  members  of  the  faculty;  let  me  give  you  one  example. 

John  Searle  was  an  ardent  supporter  of  the  Free  Speech 
Movement.   There's  a  famous  picture  of  John  Searle  marching  at  the 
head  of  a  group  of  students  with  a  big  sign  saying  "Free  Speech." 
Have  you  seen  it? 


Lage:    I  know  he  was  ardent;  I  don't  think  I've  seen  that  picture. 

Stampp:   Well,  John  Searle  was  one  of  the  faculty  leaders  of  the  Free 

Speech  Movement  and  supported  it  very  strongly  in  1964- '65- '66. 
Then  the  things  happened  that  I've  talked  about  that  turned  me 
sour  on  it.  He  came  into  the  chancellor's  office  under  Roger 
Heyns,  and  that,  I  guess,  is  always  a  kind  of  sobering  thing.   You 
suddenly  have  responsibility.   So  Robert  Cole  and  John  Searle  and 
Budd  Cheit  from  business  administration  were  all  in  the 

The  things  that  happened  afterwards,  in  the  late  sixties  and 
then  the  Cambodia  thing,  soured  John  Searle;  we'll  just  stick  to 
him,  but  I  can  think  of  another- -maybe  I  had  better  add  another 
one,  Paul  Seabury  in  political  science.   He  had  been  president  of 
Americans  for  Democratic  Action,  a  very  liberal  Democratic 

These  two  men,  and  others  like  them--I  just  remember  them 
because  I  knew  them  well- -were  just  soured  on  the  student  movement 
and  turned  extremely  conservative.   Paul  Seabury  was  so  obsessed 
with  it  that  we  couldn't  have  him  for  dinner  any  more  because  he 
couldn't  keep  off  the  subject.   He  would  spoil  dinner  parties  by 
just  talking  about  the  awful  things  that  happened. 

Searle  by  the  1980s  was  a  Reaganite. 
Lage:    Oh,  I  didn't  know  he  went  that  far. 

Stampp:   Oh,  absolutely.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  my  wife  and  I  went  to  an 
evening  party  at  Searle 's  house.   I  had  sort  of  lost  touch  with 
him,  lost  track  of  him  for  a  while.   I  heard  him  saying  things 
that  night  that  I  couldn't  believe.   I  remember  saying,  "John,  you 
can't  believe  these  things  that  you're  saying,"  and  it  was  quite 
clear  that  he  did.   I  finally  said  to  John,  "I  just  can't  stay 
here.   I  just  can't  hear  these  things."  I  said  to  my  wife,  "I 
think  we  had  better  leave,"  and  we  left. 

Lage:    What  were  these  comments  about? 

Stampp:   This  was  about  American  politics  and  his  feelings  about  the 
students,  student  action,  and  politics.  As  I  said,  he  was  a 
Reaganite,  he  had  become  a  sort  of  right-wing  Republican. 

Lage:    Was  that  in  the  seventies  still? 

Stampp:   This  is  the  eighties.   I  don't  know  where  John  is  now  because- -we 
were  just  never  invited  there  again,  [laughter]  and  we  never 
invited  John. 


Lage:  All  I  remember  hearing—it 's  in  the  papers  a  lot — is  that  he  took 
a  front  line  opposing  rent  control  in  Berkeley. 

Stampp:  Oh,  yes.  Well,  that's  not  in  his  academic  world.  That's  another 
thing.  I  sympathize  somewhat  with  things  he's  said  there,  but  as 
far  as  his  politics  are  concerned,  I  just  couldn't  take  it. 

Lage:    What  about  Carl  Schorske?  What  I  remember  about  him  is  that  he 
did  a  lot  of  P.R.  work  for  the  university  under  Roger  Heyns. 

Stampp:   Yes,  right--some--but  Carl  never  changed.   Carl  went  right  down 
the  line.   I  had  the  feeling  that  in  Carl's  view,  the  students 
were  never  wrong  and  the  administration  was  always  wrong. 

By  the  way,  in  addition  to  Schorske  and  others,  I  should  add 
Henry  Nash  Smith  as  another  person  in  whose  eyes  the 
administration  was  always  wrong  and  the  students  were  always 

Lage:    But  Schorske  did  go  out  and  give  a  lot  of  talks  to  alumni. 

Stampp:   Oh,  yes.   He  was  good  at  that  during  Roger  Heyns1  administration; 
Roger  was  very  much  interested  in  getting  the  faculty  to  go  out 
and  make  the  case  for  the  university  to  the  alumni,  and  Carl 
Schorske  was  good  at  that  sort  of  thing. 

Lage:    Did  you  get  to  know  Heyns? 

Stampp:   I  got  to  know  him  fairly  well,  yes,  because  one  year  [1966-1967]  I 
was  chairman  of  the  Academic  Senate's  Policy  Committee--!  think 
that's  what  it  was  called.   As  chairman  of  the  Senate  Policy 
Committee,  I  had  lots  of  contacts  with  Heyns  and  others  in  his 
office,  Bob  Cole  and  Budd  Cheit  among  others. 

Lage:    How  did  you  think  he  handled  things  as  the  campus  heated  up? 

Stampp:   I  thought  he  was  very  good.   In  a  very  difficult  period,  he  was 
doing  about  as  well  as  anybody  could  have. 

Lage:    Okay.  Anything  else  about  those  times? 

Stampp:   You  know,  after  Cambodia,  I  was  in  my  sixties.   I  retired  in  1983, 
and  I  little  by  little  began  to  be  less  active  in  campus  affairs. 
I  served  on  another  faculty  committee  later  on.   I  was  elected  to 
the  Committee  on  Committees.   I  ran  for  that,  and  1  served--! 
can't  remember  whether  it  was  one  year  or  two  years  as  a  member  of 
the  Committee  on  Committees  which  helped  to  set  up  committees. 





Stampp : 

The  Committee  on  Committees;  that  was  in  the  late  sixties,  I  think 

I  think  it  was  late  sixties,  yes.  And  I  was  the  chairman  of  the 
Academic  Senate  Policy  Committee.  I  accepted  the  appointment  of 
that  one  year. 

And  what  was  the  role  of  that? 


Well,  there  were  an  awful  lot  of  things  going  on  at  that  time, 
I  can't  remember  the  details,  but  I  know  the  committee  met 
regularly.   Rod  [Roderic]  Park  was  one  of  the  members  of  the 
committee  at  that  time.  We  were  busy  dealing  with  student  affairs 
and  faculty  affairs. 

Yes.   That's  a  while  ago. 

Yes,  it  was  a  long  time  ago. 

And  it  was  right  in  the  midst  of  everything. 

Yes.   I  remember  we  did  prepare  a  report  and  submit  it  to  the 
Senate,  and  it  was  approved,  but  I  really  don't  remember  the 
details  any  more.   It's  almost  thirty  years  ago,  and  I  haven't 
checked  my  notes  on  that.   I  would  have  to  go  to  my  files. 

The  Era  of  Reconstruction 

Lage:    Any  final  thoughts  on  those  times? 

Stampp:   Well,  [laughs]  I  sometimes  wish  I  hadn't  spent  so  much  time  on  it. 
I  could  have  written  another  book.   It  might  have  been  more 
worthwhile,  too.   But  it  did  take  an  awful  lot  of  time,  and  I  went 
a  long  time  after  publishing  my  book  on  Reconstruction  before  I 
got  another  book  out.   I  just  ran  into  a  dry  spell,  but  certainly 
all  these  upsetting  times  on  the  Berkeley  campus  were  one  reason 
for  it.   So  I  wish  now  that  I  hadn't  spent  as  much  time  on  it  as  I 
did.  Wish  I  had  been  one  of  those  characters  who  just  kept  on 
doing  his  own  work. 

Lage:    Did  a  lot  of  people  just  keep  on? 

Stampp:   Oh,  sure. 

Lage:    And  kind  of  ignore  the  whole  thing? 


Stampp:   As  a  matter  of  fact,  I  did  publish  in  1965  my  book  on 

Reconstruction.  I  can  remember  two  or  three  of  the  supporters  of 
the  FSM  saying,  "How  on  earth  did  you  ever  get  time  to  write  that 
book  when  you  were  supposed  to  be  doing  this  work?"  [laughter] 

Lage:    How  did  you?  You  had  a  lot  of  it  done  before. 

Stampp:  Well,  it  was  published  in  1965,  and  I  believe  I  told  you  the  book 

grew  out  of  the  Commonwealth  Fund  lectures  at  the  University  of 

London.  There  were  seven  lectures,  and  I  was  determined  to  have 
the  lectures  prepared  before  I  got  there. 

So  I  had  a  set  of  lectures,  and  the  lectures  really  had 
grown  out  of  the  lectures  I  gave  to  my  students  in  my 
Reconstruction  course.   It  was  something  that  kept  growing  and 
changing  as  I  went  along.   So  it  was  really  where  I  was  at  that 
time  as  far  as  Reconstruction  was  concerned. 

After  I  gave  the  lectures,  Knopf  was  interested  in  my  doing 
a  book,  a  short  book  on  Reconstruction;  so  was  I.   So  I  spent 
1962,  '63,  revising  the  lectures  for  publication,  expanding  them. 
I  did  some  additional  research  on  them,  and  I  had  a  manuscript 
ready  for  Knopf  in  1964.   It  came  out  in  the  summer  of  1965,  and 
it  was  a  very  opportune  time  with  black  history  becoming  popular 
and  the  civil  rights  movement.1 

That  isn't  what  motivated  me  to  write  the  book  in  the  first 
place.   It  was  something  I  had  been  working  on  starting  back  in 
the  1940s  in  my  teaching.   But  it  did  look  as  if  this  was  an 
opportunistic  thing.   That's  why  Time  magazine,  of  course,  picked 
it  up  and  gave  me  a  full  page  review.   It  was  a  revisionist 
account  of  Reconstruction. 

Lage:    And  what  kind  of  reviews  did  it  get? 

Stampp:   Very  good  reviews,  really  very  good  reviews,  from  professional 
historians  and  the  newspapers.  A  few  not  so  favorable  in  the 
South,  with  the  myth  about  black  Reconstruction  and  those  black 
legislatures—there  was  one  black-dominated  legislature  in  South 
Carolina;  the  rest  were  all  white -dominated.   But  in  the  mythology 
of  the  South,  it  was  black  voters  who  were  sending  the  South  to 
ruin  and  perdition. 

So  the  book  came  out  in  '65,  Knopf  published  it,  and  it  sold 
very  well.   My  slavery  book  was  in  paperback  by  then,  and  the 
Reconstruction  got  into  it  very  quickly.   It  had  for  years  a  big 

The  Era  of  Reconstruction,  1865-1877,  New  York:  Knopf,  1965, 


sale  in  upper  division  courses  and  possibly  as  supplementary 
reading  in  survey  courses  as  well,  and  they're  still  selling  well 
in  paperback. 

Lage:    Has  there  been  a  revision  to  your  revisionist  look  at 

Stampp:   Well,  has  there  been  more  writing  about  Reconstruction? 
Lage:    More  a  revisionist  view. 

Stampp:   Yes.   Eric  Foner  has  written  a  much  bigger,  much  more  ambitious 

book  on  Reconstruction.  Mine  is  a  book  about  240  pages  or  so;  it 
was  meant  to  be  a  short  one.   I  think  the  revisionist  view  about 
Reconstruction  is  very  well  established  now.   That  is,  it  wasn't 
black  Reconstruction  at  all,  as  far  as  who  was  running  the  things, 
it  was  not  that  at  all. 

There  are  different  opinions  about  the  Freedman's  Bureau  and 
what  the  Freedman's  Bureau  did  and  the  role  of  various  political 
leaders,  but  I  would  say  that  revisionism  was  a  rebellion  against 
probably  two  books,  neither  written  by  professional  historians. 
One  was  Claude  Bowers,  who  wrote  a  book  called  The  Tragic  Era,  and 
another  was  George  Fort  Milton,  who  wrote  a  biography  of  Andrew 
Johnson  and  Reconstruction,  very  supportive  of  Andrew  Johnson. 
This  interpretation  crept  into  college  textbooks  and  into  books 
that  surveyed  the  Civil  War  and  Reconstruction  period.   James  G. 
Randall's  The  Civil  War  and  Reconstruction  [Boston:  Heath,  1937] 
was  very  much  in  that  tradition. 

The  historian  who  really  began  this  interpretation  was 
William  A.  Dunning,  who  taught  at  Columbia  University,  who 
contributed  the  volume  on  Reconstruction  to  the  first  American 
Nation  series,  and  he  turned  out  a  whole  set  of  students  who  did 
Reconstruction  of  various  Southern  states.   They  were  all  very 
hostile  to  the  radical  Republicans  and  to  the  Fourteenth  Amendment 
and  to  enfranchisement  of  the  blacks.  They  were  full  of  the 
racism  of  the  period. 

Lage:    Now,  what  period  did  he  write  in?   Dunning  and  his  students? 

Stampp:   Dunning  wrote  in  the  early  twentieth  century,  and  the  students 
were  writing  in  the  first  couple  of  decades  of  the  twentieth 

Lage:    And  were  they  Southerners,  primarily? 

Stampp:   Most  of  them  were  Southerners,  yes.   Dunning  himself  wasn't  a 

Southerner,  but  most  of  them  were.   The  first  protest  against  it 


was  by  DuBois,  who  wrote  a  book  published  in  the  1930s  called 
Black  Reconstruction,  which  was  a  good,  wholesome  protest  against 
the  Dunning  school.  Unfortunately,  DuBois  wrote  as  a  Marxist,  and 
he  tried  to  portray  radical  Reconstruction  in  the  South  as  a 
dictatorship  of  the  proletariat,  and  that  was  really  nonsense. 

Revising  California  History  Textbooks  and  Max  Rafferty.  1964 

Lage:  A  lot  of  this  interpretation  seemed  to  stay  on  longer  in  high 
school  textbooks,  and  I  noticed  you  worked  in  some  California 
commission  to  revise  textbooks? 

Stampp:   Oh,  that's  right.   That  was  back  in  the  sixties. 
Lage:    That  was  the  mid-sixties,  '64. 

Stampp:   Yes.   That  was  Win  Jordan,  Charlie  Sellers,  and  I,  and  there  must 
have  been  a  couple  of  others .  We  examined  the  textbooks . 

Lage:    Was  this  a  UC  project? 

Stampp:  Well,  it  was  a  project  that  we  sort  of  started  ourselves,  and  we 
made  a  report.   Remember  Max  Rafferty-- 

Lage:    Yes,  how  could  I  forget. 

Stampp:   --who  was  superintendent.  Well,  you  know,  with  the  temper  of  the 

Lage:    He  was  superintendent  of  public  schools  of  California. 

Stampp:   --the  temper  of  the  times  was  in  favor  of  our  criticism  of  what 
was  being  said  about  blacks  in  high  school  textbooks.  Max 
Rafferty  approved  of  what  we  did. 

Lage:    He  did? 

Stampp:   Yes.   There  was  a  pamphlet,  I  have  a  copy  somewhere,  that  we  put 

out  about  different  textbooks,  each  of  us  analyzing  them.   I  think 
it  was  put  out  by  the  State  Board  of  Education  with  Max  Rafferty's 
signature  on  the  front  of  it.   [laughter]  We  made  a  report, 
actually,  to  the  State  Board  of  Education,  I  remember,  also. 

Lage:    How  did  you  find  the  textbooks? 


Stampp:   Well,  they  were  awful.   They  were  really  terrible.   It  was  real 
old-fashioned  accounts.  One  could  say  in  the  first  place  blacks 
didn't  exist  except  in  a  page  or  so  on  slavery,  and  then  a  bit  on 
the  blacks  and  Reconstruction,  not  on  their  culture  or 
accomplishments . 


Lage:     I  can  remember  the  tone  of  Reconstruction  discussion  from  those 

Stampp:  From  high  school  textbooks,  yes. 

Lage:  It  was  not  what  you  would  find  in  your  book. 

Stampp:  Well,  that's  right. 

Lage:  Anything  to  say  about  Win  Jordan? 

Stampp:   I  admired  him  as  my  colleague,  I  was  sorry  when  he  left.   I 

thought  his  book  White  Over  Black1  was  a  superb  piece  of  work.   I 
regret  one  thing,  and  that  is  his  suggestion  in  it  that  the  civil 
rights  movement  was  instrumental  in  my  writing  my  slavery  book;  it 
wasn't.   [laughs]   Outside  of  that  —  that's  a  trivial,  personal 
thing.   I  don't  know  what  more  to  say.   He  was  an  excellent 
colleague . 

Lage:    Why  did  he  leave? 

Stampp:   You'll  have  to  ask  him.   I  don't  know  why  he  left,  but  at  a 
certain  point,  he  decided  to  leave. 

Munich  Lectures,  1968;  Changes  in  the  German  Students 

Lage:    You  said  earlier  that  you  wanted  to  talk  about  your  students  in 
Munich  in  '68. 

Stampp:   Yes,  that's  right.   Students  in  Munich  were  quite  different  from 
the  ones  I  had  known  in  1957.  Actually,  in  '68,  there  was  the 
revolution  in  Paris,  the  University  of  Paris,  the  Sorbonne-- 

Lage:     It  wasn't  just  Berkeley. 

'Winthrop  D.  Jordan,  White  Over  Black:  American  Attitudes  toward  the 
Negro,  1550-1812,  Chapel  Hill:  University  of  North  Carolina  Press,  1968. 


Stampp:   That's  right.  And  lots  of  trouble  at  the  University  of  Berlin, 
and  Frankfurt,  and  other  places.  Munich  was  relatively  more 
quiet,  but  there  were  lots  of  student  agitators  there,  and  they 
were  ashamed  of  Munich  for  not  being  more  aggressive.   I  taught  in 
the  spring  of  1968,  and  I  had  a  number  of  the  students  in  my  class 
who  were  active.  One  was  a  black  student—her  father  was  black 
and  her  mother  was  German,  and  she  was  bilingual  and  very  much 
involved  with  the  protest  movement.   I  remember  her  saying,  "Just 
come  back  in  another  year,  and  it's  going  to  be  different.  We're 
going  to  be  a  lot  more  vigorous  and  militant  than  we  are  right 
now."  There  were  some  demonstrations,  student  demonstrations. 

Ten  years  or  eleven  years  earlier,  in  '57,  they  were  very 
passive  students.  Most  of  them  had  been  children  during  the  war. 
They  were  still  sort  of  shocked  by  the  whole  experience  of  the 
war,  and  I  found  it  very  hard  to  get  them  to  talk  and  participate 
in  discussions.  No  problem  in  '68;  these  were  a  different 
generation  of  students.   They  were  outspoken  about  Germany,  about 
the  United  States. 

Lage:    Were  they  angry  about  the  United  States? 

Stampp:   No,  I  wouldn't  say  that,  but  they  didn't  have  stars  in  their  eyes 
about  the  United  States.   They  knew  enough  American  history,  or 
they  were  learning  enough  American  history  to  know  that  we  had  a 
few  things  to  explain  and  apologize  for.   In  "68,  they  were 
obviously  interested  in  the  race  question  in  the  United  States, 
and  that  was  something  that  I  was  happy  to  talk  to  them  about ,  and 
certainly  not  defend  the  United  States. 

Lage:    Yes. 

Stampp:   I  don't  know  anything  more  to  say  about  that. 

Personnel  Committee  and  Affirmative  Action,  1970s- 1980s 

Lage:    Okay.  You  were  on  the  Personnel  Committee  a  lot,  in  the  late 
seventies  and  early  eighties,  I  believe. 

Stampp:   Yes,  the  history  department  Personnel  Committee. 

Lage:    Was  this  a  time  when  there  were  a  lot  of  pressure  towards 
affirmative  action? 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  would  say  that  the  department  was  divided  on  how 

aggressively  we  should  pursue  it.   When  I  was  on  the  Personnel 


Committee  in  the  1980s,  we  were  certainly  trying  awfully  hard  to 
find  black  candidates  and  women  candidates .   I  was  on  the 
committee  that  brought  Paula  Pass  in,  and  the  other — Win  Jordan 
was  on  the  committee,  and  one  of  our  women  historians  was  on  the 
committee.   That  committee  really  was  trying  very  hard  to  find  a 
woman,  and  we  did  find  Paula  Fass. 

Lage:    Was  this  a  self-imposed  effort,  or  was  it  the  administration? 

Stampp:  Well,  we  were  getting  pressure  from  the  administration.   The 

administration  was  getting  pressure  from  the  state  and  from  the 
federal  government,  and  we  felt  the  pressure,  no  question  about 
it.   I  think  at  that  time,  just  as  it  was  probably  appropriate  to 
be  looking  for  black  historians,  it  was  quite  appropriate  to  be 
looking  for  women.   Unfortunately,  at  the  beginning  of  the 
movement,  the  supply  of  women  was  not  very  great.   Now,  I  don't 
know  figures,  but  I  think  there  must  be  almost  as  many  women 
graduate  students  in  history  now  as  there  are  men  graduate 
students,  and  the  supply  is  growing  and  growing—and  the  quality. 

Lage:    But  not  as  many  women  professors. 

Stampp:   But  the  number  is  growing,  the  number  is  growing. 

Lage:    Yes.   How  did  the  women  professors  get  integrated  into  the 
department?  Did  that  change  relationships  and  functioning? 

Stampp:   Well,  I  think  I've  talked  about  this  before,  about  Adrienne  Koch. 
Lage:    Right,  about  being  the  only  woman. 

Stampp:   About  the  only  woman,  and  Adrienne  being  a  fairly  aggressive  and 
able  woman,  sort  of  taking  on  all  the  men  and  feeling  that  they 
were  all  her  rivals,  which  I  thought  was  rather  unfortunate.   I 
made  that  statement,  and  I  suppose  someone  could  misunderstand.   I 
guess  1  felt  that  from  now  on,  we're  going  to  have  more  than  one 
woman  or  no  women,  but  never  again  just  one  woman  in  the 
department.   This  sort  of  token  woman  was  a  terrible  thing. 

Lage:    Yes,  hard  on  both. 

Stampp:   Yes.   Obviously,  I  have  been  retired  now  for  quite  a  long  time, 

but  in  talking  to  colleagues,  it  seems  to  me  that  the  women  in  the 
department  are  integrated  into  the  department,  they  play  a  very 
active  role  in  it.   I  have  heard  no  Carl  Bridenbaugh  comments 
about  how  things  have  been  going  downhill  since  women  have  come 
into  the  department  or  anything  of  that  sort.   So  1  am  not  aware 
of  any  adverse  feeling  about  that. 


Thoughts  on  the  Quarter  System 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  retired  in  '83.   I  gave  my  last  lecture  in  March  during 
the  winter  term.  My  one  great  regret,  really,  was  retiring  just 
as  we  got  rid  of  the  confounded  quarter  system  which  I  hated. 
Just  after  I  retired,  they  went  back  to  the  semester  system. 

Lage:    Why  did  you  hate  the  quarter  system? 

Stampp:   Students  liked  it  because  apparently  from  their  point  of  view, 
they  invested  less  in  a  quarter,  and  if  things  go  wrong  in  one 
quarter,  you  can  right  it,  whereas  a  semester  is--.   It  seemed  to 
me  that  under  the  quarter  system,  which  lasts  ten  weeks  or 
something  like  that,  you're  forever  beginning  and  ending  courses 
with  little  in  the  middle.   I  was  never  able,  I  thought,  to  adjust 
my  lectures  to  the  quarter  system,  having  taught  for  so  many  years 
in  the  semester  system.   I  found  it  awfully  hard  to  adjust. 

Lage:    Well,  the  Berkeley  faculty  as  a  whole  didn't  like  it. 

Stampp:  Well,  80  percent  of  the  Berkeley  faculty  opposed  the  quarter 

system  from  the  very  beginning.  It  was  forced  on  them;  it  was 
never  something  they  chose.  As  soon  as  they  had  a  choice,  the 
quarter  system  was  gone. 

Lage:  And  stayed  in  every  other  UC  campus. 

Stampp:  Well,  UCLA  still  has  it. 

Lage:  All  of  them. 

Stampp:  Do  all  the  others  have  it? 

Lage:  Yes. 

Stampp:  Well,  that's  interesting.   I  didn't  know  that.   I  thought  some  of 
the  others  might  have  gone  back. 

Lage:    No,  I  think,  as  far  as  I  know,  every  one  is-- 
Stampp:  Well,  Berkeley  is  wiser  than  most. 

Lage:     [laughs]   It  seems  like  doubling  the  administrative  work,  if 
nothing  else. 

Stampp:   That's  right.   I  mean,  you're  forever  registering  students, 

forever  giving  final  exams .   The  one  good  thing  about  it  was  when 
the  quarter  system  began—actually,  we  have  this  under  the 


semester  system  in  Berkeley--the  fall  term  begins  the  end  of 
August,  around  the  first  of  September,  which  is  fine,  and  then 
there's  a  big  break  from  mid-December  until  late  January. 

Lage:    Right. 

Stampp:   I  don't  know  anyone  who  really  liked  that  quarter  system,  outside 
of  students. 

Lage:    I  don't  know  why  students  like  it,  frankly. 

Stampp:   Well,  they  told  me  that,  you  know,  if  things  go  wrong  in  a  course, 
it's  only  a  quarter. 

Lage:    Or  if  they  don't  like  a  class. 

Stampp:   Yes,  but  it's  harder  to  drop  out  of  a  class  in  the  quarter  system 
when  you've  got  so  few  weeks.  You  can't  wait  two  weeks  as  you 
could  under  the  semester  system  to  suddenly  switch  to  another 
course.   But  their  argument  was  that  you  invest  less  in  it.   If 
things  go  wrong  in  a  course,  it's  only  one  quarter  and  not  a  whole 
semester,  not  a  half  a  year  but  a  third  of  a  year.   And  of  course, 
Clark  Kerr's  idea  in  putting  the  quarter  system  in  was  that  we 
were  going  to  maximize  use  of  the  plant. 

Lage:    Did  that  kind  of  thing  create  unhappiness  with  Clark  Kerr?   [The 
quarter  system  was  instituted  in  1966,  but  plans  for  it  were 
underway  in  the  FSM  years . ] 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  mean,  a  lot  of  people  thought  that  Clark  Kerr  was  too  much 
the  business  administration  man  thinking  about  "maximizing  the 
plant"  and  that  sort  of  thing,  and  that  didn't  sit  well. 

Lage:    And  then  the  students  picked  up  on  that  —  the  multiversity. 

Stampp:   Of  course,  that  meant  that  he  expected  a  full  summer  quarter. 
Then  there  was  talk  about  coercing  students  to  come  for  the 
summer,  that  they  would  have  to  spend  at  least  one  summer  quarter 
in  Berkeley.  Well,  that  never  worked,  and  so  the  summer  quarter 
became  nothing  but  a  summer  school,  which  is  what  it  had  always 
been  in  the  semester  system.   So  we  didn't  maximize  use  of  the 

Lage:    Well,  is  this  a  good  place  to  stop?  We  don't  have  a  lot  left,  but 
I  would  kind  of  like  to  have  a  short  session. 

Stampp:   Yes,  let's  see.   I  would  like  to  talk  a  bit  about  my  last  two 

books  and  the  writing  I  did  in  the  seventies  and  eighties,  and  I 
guess  that  would  be  about  it. 


Lage:    And  whatever  final  thoughts  might  occur  to  you. 

Stampp:   Yes.   I'll  tell  you  about  the  Lincoln  prize,  and  about  my  time 
down  at  the  Huntington  Library. 

Lage:    Oh,  I  didn't  know  about  that. 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  spent  two  four-month  periods  there.   I  went  to  the 

Huntington  for  one  month  and  then  went  back  twice,  once  in  '86 
when  Bob  Middlekauff  was  head  of  the  Huntington  and  again  in  '89, 
I  wrote  most  of  my  last  book  at  the  Huntington. 



Briefly  on  America  in  1857 

Okay,  and  your  last  book  you  mentioned  as  being  your  favorite. 

Oh,  yes.   It's  the  book  I  enjoyed  writing  and  I  think  it's  my--I 
like  it  better.   The  reason  is  that  I've  always  felt  that  writing 
a  book  on  slavery  was  a  tremendous  challenge.   It  was  to  me.  And 
I  never  managed  to  do  everything  I  wanted  to  do. 

But  I  really  like  1857  (America  in  1857:  A  Nation  on  the 
Brink  [New  York:  Oxford  University  Press,  1990]).   It  was  lots  of 
fun  writing  it,  and  it  gave  me  a  chance  in  that  one  year  finally 
to  give  my  ideas  about—there' s  one  chapter  called  "The  Heart  of 
the  Matter,"  and  it's  that  chapter  where  I  try  to  show  that  when 
you  get  down  to  it,  slavery  is  what  brought  that  war  on,  brought 
the  crisis  on.   If  there  had  been  no  slavery,  there  would  have 
been  no  war,  there  would  have  been  no  crisis,  and  you  couldn't  say 
that  about  any  other  issue  that  they  were  arguing  about.   The 
tariff  issue  was  never  going  to  tear  the  country  apart,  or  the 
feeling  of  Southerners  that  Northerners  were  making  too  much  money 
out  of  their  cotton  crops,  and  so  on. 

Now,  did  that  represent  a  change  or  an  evolution  in  your  own 
thinking  about  the  causes  of  the  war? 

Oh,  it  was  an  evolution—it  was  something  that  I  had  been  saying 
in  my  lectures  and  had  written  about.   I  wrote  a  chapter  in  my 
book  The  Imperiled  Union,  one  chapter  called  "The  Irrepressible 
Conflict."  But  this  gave  me  more  room  and  more  space  to  develop 
my  views.   If  you  think  of  any  great  war,  any  great  crisis,  you 
can  always  find  a  place  where  it  seems  things  get  out  of  hand,  and 
they  acquire  a  kind  of  momentum,  and  it's  hard  to  think  how  you 
could  have  stopped  it.   And  1857,  to  me,  is  that  point,  that  after 
certain  things  happened  in  that  year,  and  the  Democratic  party 


blew  up  as  a  national  organization,  that  meant  there  was  no 
national  political  party  left.  And  I  don't  really  know  how  you 
could  have  stopped  it  after  that. 

Lage:    So  that's  when  it  might  have  become  inevitable. 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  don't  like  to  use  that  word,  but  let's  say  it  seemed  to  be 
a  logical  result  of  the  things  that  happened.   [laughter] 

Lage:    Okay.  Well,  let's  stop  now,  and  then  we'll  use  next  time  to  pick 
up  all  the  pieces. 

Stampp:   Okay. 


[Interview  9:  July  9,  1996]  ti 

"The  Irrepressible  Conflict";  Slavery  as  the  Cause  of  the  Civil 

Lage:    Today  is  July  9,  1996,  and  this  is  the  final  session  of  Ken 

Stampp's  oral  history.  We're  talking  about  the  writing  you  did  in 
the  seventies  and  eighties.  Let's  start  with  The  Imperiled  Union 
(Essays  on  the  Background  of  the  Civil  War,  [New  York:  Oxford 
University  Press,  1980]). 

Stampp:   Yes.   This  was  published  in  1980  by  Oxford  University  Press,  and 
it's  a  series  of  essays.   One  of  them  goes  back  to  the  1940s,  and 
another  one  that  I  see  is  out  of  the  1950s.   The  others  are  later. 
The  others  are  1960s  and  seventies.   The  seventh  essay  was  one 
that—and  it's  the  longest  one--I  wrote  just  for  this  book,  and 
it's  called  "The  Irrepressible  Conflict."   It's  really  about  30 
percent  of  the  book. 

That  is  where  I  finally  put  together  my  idea  of  what  caused 
the  Civil  War,  and  I  dealt  with  some  other  kinds  of 
interpretation,  especially  the  interpretation  of  a  group  that 
called  themselves  the  Revisionists.   It's  a  silly  word  to  use, 
since  every  revisionist  is  going  to  be  revised. 

Lage:    What  was  their  point  of  view? 

Stampp:   Well,  as  one  of  them  described  the  Civil  War,  their  point  of  view 
was  essentially  that  it  was  a  needless  war—that  was  James  G. 
Randall.  Another  one,  Avery  Craven,  described  the  Civil  War  as  a 
repressible  conflict. 

The  idea  of  both  of  them  and  others  who  wrote  in  that  vein, 
particularly  during  the  1930s,  but  it  really  goes  back  a  lot 
further,  is  that  there  were  no  issues  that  could  not  have  been 
compromised  away  or  resolved.   We  had  a  civil  war  because  we  had  a 


group  of  irresponsible  agitators  and  reckless  politicians  who  used 
sectional  differences  for  political  gain,  and  ultimately,  we  got 
into  a  war  as  a  result  of  the  errors  of  what  Randall  called  a 
blundering  generation  of  politicians  and  agitators. 

I  think  that's  nonsense,  and  this  is  what  I  tried  to  say. 
Lage:    So  you  call  it  the  irrepressible  conflict. 

Stampp:  My  basic  argument  is  that  the  Civil  War—you  can  think  of  all 

other  kinds  of  issues,  but  the  Civil  War  was  fundamentally  caused 
by  the  sectional  issue  on  slavery.   If  there  had  been  no  slavery, 
there  would  have  been  no  Civil  War.  You  can  keep  slavery  and 
subtract  every  other  issue—the  tariff  issue  and  other  issues  of 
that  sort— and  there  still  would  have  been  a  Civil  War.   I  talked 
to  one  of  the  historians  who  has  a  somewhat  sophisticated 
variation  of  what's  called  the  Revisionist  point  of  view—who 
doesn't  have  many  good  things  to  say  about  the  politicians  of  the 
1850s— and  I  asked  him  whether,  in  his  view,  there  could  have  been 
a  Civil  War  without  slavery,  and  he  said,  "No." 

Lage:    So  it  seems  to  be  in  agreement. 
Stampp:   What  are  we  arguing  about? 

Lage:    Did  this  group  of  Revisionists  come  from  a  certain  point  of  view, 
a  section  or  time  period  or  political  view? 

Stampp:  Most  of  them  are  Southerners.   There  are  a  couple  of  exceptions. 

James  G.  Randall  was  born  in  Indiana.   He  married  a  Virginia  woman 
who  was  something  of  a  historian  herself  and  I  think  had  a 
considerable  influence  on  him.  Avery  Craven,  the  other 
distinguished  one,  is  a  North  Carolinian.  Most  of  the  others,  as 
I  said,  with  just  a  few  exceptions,  were  Southerners.   So  it  was 
basically  a  Southern  interpretation  of  the  conflict. 

The  other  school  of  the  early  twentieth  century  was  one 
represented  best  by  Charles  A.  Beard,  and  that  is  an  economic 
interpretation.   It  was  the  economic  differences  between  a  growing 
industrialized  society  in  the  North  and  a  basically  agricultural 
society  in  the  South,  and  the  conflict  between  them. 

Lage:    But  he  didn't  consider  slavery  an  essential  part  of  the— 

Stampp:   Slavery  is  hardly— no.   Beard,  and  this  is  found  best  in  his  two- 
volume  work  called  Rise  of  American  Civilization  [New  York: 
Macmillan  Co,  1927],  Beard— Charles  and  Mary— they  say  very  little 
about  slavery.   In  this  big  work,  there's  no  real  analysis  of 
slavery.   They  don't  spend  much  time  on  abolitionists  and 





agitators.   It's  sort  of  the  march  of  the  Industrial  Revolution 
and  the  more  regressive  areas  in  the  South. 

I  thought  that  was  very  convincing  when  I  was  a  graduate 
student  in  the  thirties,  but  eventually  it  seemed  less  satisfying. 
I  can  tell  you  a  very  funny  story.   In  graduate  school  in  Madison 
in  the  1930s,  Beardianism  was  for  most  students  the  key  to  the 
understanding  of  American  history.   I  remember  a  poor  graduate 
student  who  took  his  M.A.  oral  exam  in  American  history,  and  one 
of  the  questions  thrown  at  him  was,  "What  do  you  think  caused  the 
Civil  War?"  And  he  said,  "I  think  slavery  really  caused  the  Civil 
War."  That's  very  oversimplified.   The  graduate  students  sort  of 
snickered  about  this  naive  young  man,  didn't  really  know  what  was 
going  on.  Well,  he  certainly  has  been  vindicated  in  my  eyes. 

The  professor  who  was  examining  him  snickered  at  him?  Or  the 
fellow  graduate  students? 

Well,  we  heard  later,  and  I  don't  remember  how  we  found  out,  that 
the  question  had  been  asked,  you  see. 

I  see,  the  circle  of  graduate  students. 

We  all  thought  he  was  a  rather  naive  young  man.   In  many  ways,  he 
was,  but  certainly  on  that  issue,  I  don't  think  he  was  all  that 

You  finished  this  particular  book  about  1979. 
thinking  along  these  lines  for  a  long  time? 

Now,  had  you  been 

I  had  been  thinking  all  the  time  since  my  teaching  in  my  upper 
division  course,  and  my  seminar  always  revolved  around  the 
sectional  conflict,  the  old  South,  the  crisis  of  the  1850s,  Civil 
War,  Reconstruction,  the  new  South,  and  so  on.   I  had  been 
thinking  about  it,  I  guess,  ever  since  I  was  in  graduate  school, 
because  my  dissertation  was  on  an  aspect  of  it,  and  so  was  my  M.A. 

It  was  1979,  when  I  was  in  England  and  had  a  visiting 
fellowship  at  All  Souls  College  in  Oxford,  that  I  wrote  that 
essay.   Everything  else  was  a  matter  of  rewriting  and  revising, 
and  quite  a  lot  of  revising  and  rewriting  to  get  them  ready  for 
this  book. 

That  was  the  one  where  I  decided  that  here  is  the  place  and 
now  is  the  time  to  finally  explain  what  has  developed  in  my  mind 
about  the  cause  of  the  Civil  War.   So  it  went  into  that  book,  and 
the  book  was  finished  by  the  summer  of  1979.   It  went  to  Oxford 
and  came  out  the  next  year. 


"Southern  Road  to  Appomattox" :  The  Failure  of  the  Confederacy 

Lage:    Then  that  final  essay,  which  I  think  you  have  talked  about  a 
little  bit,  is  certainly  an  interesting  one. 

Stampp:   You  mean  "The  Southern  Road  to  Appomattox?" 
Lage:    "Southern  Road  to  Appomattox,"  yes. 

Stampp:   That's  something  I  thought  about,  too,  quite  a  lot.   I  wrote  that 
essay  to  be  read  as  a  paper  or  a  lecture  at  the  University  of 
Texas  at  El  Paso.   Then  I  read  it  again  somewhere  else,  I  can't 
remember  where,  a  revised  version  of  it,  and  then  I  kept  thinking 
about  it  and  revising  it,  and  then  put  it  in  this  book.   It's 
probably  the  most  controversial  essay—well,  no,  "The 
Irrepressible  Conflict"  is,  too,  but  those  are  probably  the  two 
most  controversial  essays. 

Lage:    Just  talk  about  the  thesis  of  that  one. 

Stampp:   The  thesis  is  that  among  the  reasons  for  the  failure  of  the 

Confederacy,  the  defeat  of  the  Confederacy,  were  two  things:  a 
kind  of  residue  of  Unionism  among  a  great  number  of  Southerners  — 
I'm  not  talking  about  the  ones  who  never  supported  the 
Confederacy.  There  were  Unionists  in  western  North  Carolina  and 
West  Virginia  and  east  Tennessee  who  never  supported  the 
Confederacy  and  did  everything  they  could  to  sabotage  the 
Confederate  movement.   I  was  talking  really  about  Southerners  who 
ostensibly  supported  the  Confederacy,  some  perhaps  at  the 
beginning  with  some  reluctance,  but  ultimately  supported  it,  who 
never  really  completely  shed  their  Unionism.   Second,  there  was 
something  I  thought  I  picked  up  from  reading  the  diaries  and 
letters  of  slaveholding  planters—that  a  great  number  of  them 
never  could  reconcile  their  Christianity  and  their  ethical 
standards  and  nineteenth-century  conceptions  of  morality  with 

In  part,  it  seemed  to  me  that  they  protested  too  much.   I 
remember  the  correspondence  between  two  North  Carolina 
slaveholders;  they  were  good  friends,  they  lived  about  100  miles 
apart,  they  both  were  substantial  slaveholders,  owned  100  or  so 
slaves,  each  of  them.  They  kept  writing  back  and  forth,  "Well,  it 
seems  to  me  that  God  put  these  people  here  for  us  to  look  after. 
They're  not  able  to  look  after  themselves."  And  then  the  other 
one  would  write  back  and  say,  "Yes,  I  agree  with  you,"  and  it  goes 
back  and  forth,  and  I  wondered,  "Why  do  you  have  to  keep  saying 
this  if  this  is  something  you  really  believe?  There's  no  reason 
why  you  have  to  keep  repeating  this  litany." 


Lage:     It  goes  without  saying,  if  you  really  believe  it. 

Stampp:   That's  right,  exactly.  And  I  found  other  slaveholders  who  really 
expressed  their  feelings  of  guilt  about  it.   One  said,  "I  guess  I 
was  never  cut  out  to  be  a  slaveholder,"  and  another  one  says,  "I 
feel  guilty  because  they  make  so  much  money  from  me."  You  can 
find  it  in  the  press  sometimes. 

This  led  me  to  wonder  whether  that  might  be  a  partial 
explanation  for  the  failure  of  the  Confederacy:  there  was  not  the 
kind  of  deep  commitment.  The  criticism  of  that  is,  look  how  hard 
the  Confederate  Army  fought.  And  the  answer  to  that,  it  seems  to 
me,  is  that  when  you  get  confronted  by  an  enemy,  you  jolly  well 
had  better  fight.   There  were  plenty  of  problems  with  morale  in 
the  Confederate  Army,  so  it  was  not  just  defeatism  late  in  the 

It  seems  to  me  that  in  the  end,  Union  soldiers  with  their 
commitment,  not  necessarily  to  antislavery,  but  with  their 
commitment  to  the  Union—granted  again  that  there  were  desertions 
and  periods  of  low  morale- -that  the  morale  of  the  Union  Army  was 
superior  to  the  morale  of  the  Confederate  Army. 

It  seemed  to  me  that  when  you  have  a  real  commitment,  a 
nationalistic  commitment,  your  morale  is  stronger.   You  can  find 
examples  of  it  in  twentieth-century  history.   In  Algeria,  for 
example,  the  French  could  never  suppress  the  Algerians. 

Lage:    Or  Vietnam. 

Stampp:   Or  Vietnam,  and  plenty  of  others.  Think  about  Poland  and  Polish 

nationalism  which  survived  from  the  1780s  and  '90s  when  Poland  was 
partitioned,  right  on  to  the  First  World  War.   Polish  nationalism 
never  died.   But  what  happened  to  Confederate  nationalism?   It  was 
gone.   Once  the  war  was  over,  you  find  case  after  case  of  somebody 
saying,  "Well,  I  think  we  had  a  right  to  do  it,  but  I'm  glad  the 
war  ended  the  way  it  did.  And  I'm  glad  we're  rid  of  slavery. 
Slavery  has  been  a  burden  on  us."  They  were  not  talking  about 
their  morals  or  their  guilt  feelings  but  a  physical  burden  of 
having  to  support  it  all. 

Why  didn't  some  of  these  Southern  nationalists- -alleged 
Southern  nationalists—why  didn't  they  go  up  to  the  hills  and 
fight  on? 

Lage:    A  little  guerrilla  warfare. 


Stampp:   Yes.   The  only  guerrilla  warfare  that  occurred  of  any  significance 
in  the  South  was  among  Tennessee  Unionists  against  the 
Confederacy.  They  took  to  the  hills  and  drilled. 

Lage:    Very  interesting  point,  and  it  seems  to  me  it's  well  supported. 
But  what  was  the  reaction  to  that? 

Stampp:  Well,  [laughs]  everyone  finds  it  very  interesting,  and  they  make 
it  required  reading  and  so  on,  but  they  just  can't  believe  it. 
"How  can  you  say  that  these  Southerners,  who  grew  up  in  slavery 
and  took  slavery  as  a  matter  of  course,  how  can  you  say  that  there 
was  a  morale  problem?  Think  how  the  Confederate  Army  fought." 
Well,  it's  interesting. 

Lage:    So  it's  not  well  accepted. 

Stampp:   Sometimes  it's  misunderstood.   I  never  said  that  it  was  the  cause. 
I  simply  said  it  was  a  significant  factor  in  the  collapse  of  the 

Some  accept  it.   In  fact,  two  historians  wrote  a  whole  book 
about  that  and  accepted  my  interpretation.   So  there  was  some 
support.   But  it's  been  fun.   Some  people  get  terribly  indignant 
about  it.   [laughter] 

Lage:    Well,  it's  kind  of  fun  to  put  forth  ideas  that  challenge  people's 
way  of  thinking. 

Stampp:   Yes. 

Lage:    So  that  was  interesting.   I  spent  a  little  time  this  weekend 
looking  at  The  Imperiled  Union.   It's  a  wonderful  collection. 

Stampp:   Charlie  Sellers  had  an  essay,  too,  called  "The  Southerner  as 

American,"  which  developed  one  part  of  my  thesis,  and  that  is  that 
the  ideals  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence  were  never 
repudiated  in  the  South,  never  rejected,  and  the  author  of  the 
Declaration  of  Independence  is  a  Southerner.   Some  of  the  most 
ardent  patriots—Patrick  Henry  and  so  on—were  Southerners.   The 
nationalist  tradition  never  died  completely  in  the  South,  I  didn't 

Lage:    So  that  would  create  their  doubts. 

Stampp:   Yes. 

Lage:    Was  Charlie  Sellers'  essay  after  this  or  before? 


Stampp:  He  wrote  his  before,  yes,  because  I  have  footnote  references.  His 
mostly  was  on  Southern  nationalism.  I  put  more  emphasis—not  that 
he  didn't--!  think  I  put  somewhat  more  emphasis  on  the  guilt  about 
slavery  than  Charlie  did,  though  he  certainly  did  not  ignore  it. 

Lage:    Just  bringing  up  Sellers,  were  your  points  of  view  similar  or 

different?  Did  he  teach  about  sectional  conflict,  too,  or  was  his 
period  earlier? 

Stampp:   No,  he  taught  about  the  Jacksonian  period,  but  there  was 

inevitable  overlap  between  my  lectures  on  the  background  of  the 
Civil  War  and  his  lectures  on  the  Jacksonian  period. 

Lage:    Did  you  have  similar  points  of  view,  or  good  debates? 

Stampp:   I  think  usually.   Charlie  ran  off  in  other  directions  late  in  his 
career.   I  sort  of  lost  track  of  where  he  was  going,  but  for  a 
long  time,  1  think  Charlie  and  1  were  very  close  in  our  thinking 
about  the  background  of  the  Civil  War. 

Lage:    Did  he  run  off  to  other  interests,  you  mean,  or  new  ideas  about 
that  same  period? 

Stampp:   Charlie  became  a  Marxist  rather  late  in  his  career,  long  after  I 
had  abandoned  it,  Charlie  discovered  it. 

Lage:    Was  this  during  the  time  of  FSM? 

Stampp:   It  was  FSM--I  really  don't  know  all  the  things  that  went  into  it, 
and  I  don't  want  this  to  be  an  essay  on  Charlie  Sellers.   Charlie 
came  here  about  1957  or  "58,  and  by  the  end  of  the  1960s, 
Charlie's  thinking  had  changed  a  great  deal.   He  was  radicalized. 
He  came  here  from  Princeton,  where  he  was  an  elder  in  the 
Presbyterian  church,  and  became  a  rather  different  person. 

I  don't  know  if  you  ever  saw  his  last  book.   He  was  very 
much  interested  in  the  importance  of  the  so-called  market 
revolution,  which  was  something  that  economic  historians 
emphasized  considerably  in  the  1960s  and  seventies.   The  last  book 
by  Charlie  became  a  rather  eccentric  one.   [The  Market  Revolution: 
Jacksonian  America,  1815-1846,  New  York:  Oxford  University  Press, 


The  Huntington  Library  and  America  in  1857 

Lage:    You  said  you  wanted  to  talk  about  your  time  at  the  Huntington 
Library  writing  America  in  1857. 

Stampp:   Yes.   They're  connected  because  I  went  to  the  Huntington  Library 
three  times  in  the  1980s.  The  first  time  I  went  for  just  one 
month,  and  it  was  the  month  of  January.   I  was  very  much  impressed 
with  the  library  and  the  way  they  dealt  with  scholars .   I  had  an 
office  and  access  to  the  stacks,  and  if  I  wanted  to  take  a  book  up 
to  my  office,  I  simply  filled  out  a  little  slip.   I  didn't  have  to 
bother  with  librarians,  and  I  kept  books  there  as  long  as  I  wanted 

Then  I  went  again  a  couple  of  years  later  for  four  months , 
and  that  was  again  largely  research.  There  is  a  lot  of  stuff  at 
the  Huntington. 

Lage:    What  kinds  of  collections  do  they  have?  Diaries  and--? 

Stampp:   They  have  a  lot  of  manuscript  collections  from  all  over.   I'm 

constantly  surprised  at  what  the  Huntington  Library  has  picked  up. 
They  have  a  very  good  collection  of  printed  sources  as  well,  so  1 
could  use  all  the  printed  sources  I  needed  at  the  Huntington,  and 
then  have  all  the  advantages  of  the  Huntington,  one  being  that  I 
had  no  telephone.   [laughs]   I  got  to  my  office  at  eight-thirty  in 
the  morning  and  worked  until  twelve,  then  went  to  their  little 
lunch  room  and  had  lunch  with  the  historians  who  were  around. 
Then  we  usually  took  a  half -hour  walk  through  the  gardens. 

Lage:    Which  are  lovely. 

Stampp:   Yes.   Then  back  to  my  study  by  a  little  after  one,  and  I  stayed  on 
until  five,  with  absolutely  no  interruptions.   It  was  marvelous. 

I  went  back  the  last  time  in  1989  when  I  was  actually 
writing,  and  I  wrote  most  of  1857  at  the  Huntington  Library.   I 
think  I  had  one  more  chapter  to  do  after  I  left.   I  stayed  from 
January  through  April- -twice  from  January  through  April.   So  there 
are  very  good  memories  as  far  as  working  conditions,  and  the  whole 
environment  is  wonderful.   I  got  a  lot  of  work  done. 

Lage:    Sounds  very  civilized. 

Stampp:   It  was,  very  civilized.   I  should  add  that  my  wife  made  this 

possible.   We  went  down  there  with  our  dog,  and  Isabel  took  her 
for  her  walk  and  saw  to  it  that  I  walked  to  the  library  in  the 
morning.  Then  she  would  come  and  pick  me  up  at  five.   She  just 



Stampp : 




took  care  of  everything.   That's  why  I  gave  her  the 
acknowledgement --well,  she  did  a  lot  more  for  that  book.   She  went 
with  me  on  note-taking  and  always  read  and  criticized. 

Did  she  criticize  with  an  eye  to  the  language  or--? 

Everything.   She  asked  me  questions  about  what  I  was  saying, 
interpretations  and  so  on,  but  also  she  was  reading  it  for  style, 
and  she  was  a  good  critic.   Passages  that  didn't  seem  clear  to  her 
I  felt  obviously  needed  to  be  rewritten  if  she  couldn't  understand 
them.   So  I  think  it  was  a  nice  time  for  both  of  us.   I  started 
the  book  before  I  retired,  but  most  of  the  research  was  done  after 
I  retired.  We  were  very  close  in  the  eighties  after  my 
retirement.  We  went  everywhere  together.   She  really  was  a  major 
factor  in  my  getting  that  book  written. 

That's  nice.   Sometimes  that  doesn't  get  acknowledged. 

Well,  I  acknowledged  it,  and  I  meant  it,  too. 
make  my  wife  feel  good.  Did  you  read  it? 

That  wasn't  just  to 

I  haven't  read  that  one  because  I  couldn't  find  that  one  in  the 

You  didn't  read—well,  I'll  read  it  to  you.   [gets  book]   This  is 
the  last  paragraph  of  the  preface.   "The  contribution  of  my  wife 
Isabel  to  the  research  and  writing  of  this  book  was  so  substantial 
as  to  approach  collaboration.   She  accompanied  me  on  research 
trips,  assisted  in  note-taking,  and  was  a  thoughtful  critic  at  all 
stages  of  the  manuscript  preparation.   The  book  would  never  have 
been  written  without  her  support,  and  I  am  grateful  for  her 
remarkable  patience."  What  I  should  have  added  is  that  she  was 
taking  care  of  all  the  possible  distractions. 

The  dog-- 

The  dog  and  all  the  other  distractions  that  one  has  at  home. 

The  Lincoln  Prize 

Lage:    That's  very  nice.   Okay,  the  Lincoln  Prize. 
Stampp:   Well,  that  came-- [laughs]   Look  at  the  date. 

Lage:    It's  right  in  front  of  us  here,  a  really  good-sized  bust  of 


Stampp:   Yes,  1993.  This  is  a  famous  bust  of  Lincoln  that's  somewhere  in 
Chicago  and  was  done  by  a  Frenchman  named  Augustus  St.  Gaudens. 
This  was  cast  by  some  well-known  company  or  artisan  who  does  these 
things,  and  the  winner  of  the  prize  gets  one  of  those  every  year. 

Lage:    Is  the  winner  always  a  historian? 

Stampp:   The  Lincoln  Prize  is  awarded  by  the  Civil  War  Institute  at 

Gettysburg  College,  and  the  money  came  from  two  very  wealthy  men, 
Richard  Gilder  and  Lewis  Lehrman. 

Lage:    You  were  the  third  to  receive  the  prize? 

Stampp:   I  was  the  third.   The  first  one  went  to  Ken  Burns,  the  man  who  did 
the  film  on  the  Civil  War. 

Lage:    The  documentary  for  public  television? 

Stampp:   Yes. 

Lage:    That's  really  quite  an  honor. 

Stampp:   I  think  it  was.   It's  a  big  prize;  it's  probably  the  biggest  prize 
as  far  as  money  is  concerned. 

Richard  Gilder  and  Louis  Lehrman  are  the  two  angels  who 
provide  the  money,  and  they  subsidize  the  Civil  War  Institute  at 
Gettysburg  College.   These  two  men  have  given  a  lot  of  money  to 
the  Morgan  Library  and  manuscripts  to  the  Morgan  Library  in  New 
York.   So  when  they  say  to  the  Morgan  Library,  "We'd  like  to  have 
a  reception  there,"  they  have  it.   [laughter] 

Lage:    And  is  that  where  it  was  awarded? 

Stampp:   There's  a  reception  before  the  dinner  at  the  Morgan  Library,  and 
then  they  move  from  the  Morgan  Library  to  the  New  York  Public 
Library,  and  there  they  have  their  big  dinner  and  the  award  after 
the  dinner. 

Lage:    Do  you  give  a  speech? 

Stampp:   You  have  to  acknowledge,  accept  the  award. 

Lage:    But  not  an  academic — 

Stampp:   Well,  I  did  give  a  speech  about  how  I  happened  to  write  The 
Peculiar  Institution,  as  a  matter  of  fact. 


Here's  a  picture  after  I  received  the  prize.   These  are  the 
two  men;  this  man  and  this  man  are  the  ones,  the  angels,  and  this 
man  is  Gabor  Boritt,  a  historian  at  Gettysburg  College,  who  runs 
the  institute.  Who  is  this  man  in  the  middle?  I  don't  know  who 
he  is. 

Lage:  Do  you  know  who  makes  the  choices? 

Stampp:  There  is  always  a  jury. 

Lage:  That  is  a  wonderful  honor. 

Stampp:  Yes. 

Rethinking  Former  Views 

Lage:    Then  you  also  gave  a  talk,  a  Moses  Lecture,  "My  Life  with 

Stampp:   Yes.   That  was  published  by  the  Berkeley  Graduate  Division. 

Lage:     It's  in  the  Bancroft  Library. 

Stampp:   Yes,  1  liked  that  confession  of  the  erroneous  views  of  my  youth. 

Lage:    You  do  this  a  lot  in  your  writing.   It's  a  theme,  to  rethink  your 

Stampp:   It  is  a  theme,  and  I  do  it  because  this  idea  that  you  write 

history  for  the  ages  carved  in  stone  is  just  plain  nonsense.   You 
had  better  realize  that  what  you  write  may  be  great  stuff  when  you 
write  it,  but  it's  not  always  going  to  look  that  way  over  time. 

Lage:    There  would  be  no  work  for  historians. 

Stampp:   It  still  can  be  fine  literature.   One  ought  to  and  one  does  read 
Henry  Adams  and  his  history,  and  Charles  A.  Beard—Charles  Beard 
is  a  classic  because  of  his  expounding  of  an  economic 
interpretation  of  history.  Although  it  may  be  superseded,  it's 
still  important,  and  it's  a  milestone  on  the  historical 
development  of  our  views  today. 

Obviously,  we  don't  know  who  is  going  to  be  important  and 
what  topics  are  going  to  be  important  twenty-five  years  from  now, 
and  this  I  know  from  my  own  experience.   So  I  keep  harping  on  it 
as  something  we  ought  to  be  aware  of. 


Lage:  And  probably  the  best  way  to  do  it  is  to  show  how  your  own  views 
have  changed. 

Stampp:  I  didn't  think  I  should  take  another  historian  and  say,  "Look  at 
this  and  then  look  at  that."  I  thought,  do  it  yourself  and  give 
your  own  experience. 

Looking  at  Lincoln 

Lage:    I  haven't  read  My  Life  With  Lincoln  (Berkeley:  Graduate  Division, 
1983)  for  a  while,  so  I  can't  remember  precisely  the  points  you 
made.  You  had  been  less  forgiving  of  him  or  judged  him  more 
harshly  earlier? 

Stampp:   In  my  radical  days,  Lincoln  struck  me  as  a  kind  of  bourgeois 

politician  who  wasn't  really  antislavery  in  any  significant  sense. 
He  was  a  racist,  and  there's  plenty  of  evidence  of  that.   I  was 
inclined  in  those  pacifist  days  to  throw  a  lot  of  the 
responsibility  on  him  for  the  Civil  War. 


Stampp:   Lincoln  sent  a  relief  expedition  down  to  Fort  Sumter  and  did  not 
do  it  in  the  most  peaceful  way.   He  told  the  governor  of  South 
Carolina  that  he  was  only  sending  in  supplies,  but  then  he  added 
"at  this  time."   That's  provocative.   I  mean,  that's  not  the  least 
provocative  way.   So  I  felt  that  Lincoln  had  sort  of  cynically 
maneuvered  the  Southerners  into  firing  the  first  shot  so  he  would 
get  the  benefit  of  merely  defending  the  Union  in  the  face  of 

Well,  there  are  other  ways  of  looking  at  it  too.   Another 
way  of  looking  at  it  is  simply  that  Lincoln  was  a  nationalist, 
Lincoln  felt  it  was  his  duty  as  president  to  preserve  the  Union, 
and  if  he  had  to  do  it ,  he  would  be  an  idiot  not  to  do  it  in  a  way 
that  would  be  most  beneficial  to  him.   In  other  words,  let  them 
take  the  responsibility  for  firing  the  first  shot. 

Lage:    It's  a  matter  of  judgment. 

Stampp:  It's  a  little  different  way  of  looking  at  it,  you  know,  from  the 
rather  censorious  way  that  I  took  in  the  thirties,  with  a  lot  of 
other  historians,  too. 

Lage:    Did  you  soften  your  judgment  of  his  racial  views  or  his  views 
about  slavery? 


Stampp:   I  wrote  an  article  comparing  Lincoln  and  Douglas,  and  the  question 
was,  was  there  a  difference  between  the  two?  Did  it  matter  which 
one  was  elected  senator  in  1858?  I  used  the  Lincoln-Douglas 
debates.   Yes,  the  article  is  called  "Race,  Slavery,  and  the 
Republican  Party."  I  used  Lincoln  and  Douglas,  and  I  compared 

And  there  was  a  difference,  there  was  a  significant 
difference.   For  one  thing,  Lincoln  didn't  want  to  talk  about 
race.   It  was  not  to  his  advantage.   He  was  talking  to  a  very 
racist  audience  in  Illinois.   Douglas  brought  it  up  all  the  time. 
He  was  the  one  who  kept  bringing  it  up  and  calling  Lincoln  a 
nigger-lover  and  an  abolitionist. 

Finally,  Lincoln  made  a  momentous  statement.   He  said,  "This 
question  has  been  brought  up  and  brought  up.   If  you  want  me  to 
say  what  I  think,  I'll  say  that  there  is  a  difference  between  the 
black  and  white  race,  and  I  am  as  much  in  favor  as  anyone  else  of 
having  the  superior  position  assigned  to  the  white  race,  and  I 
don't  believe  in  making  voters  of  them  or  letting  them  serve  on 
juries  or  making  citizens  of  them."  That's  pretty  awful. 

Lage:    Yes.   Considering  that  just  a  few  years  later,  the  three 
amendments- - 

Stampp:   That's  right.   But  there  were  other  things  that  he  said  in  those 
debates  that  were  very  different.   He  said,  "I  don't  see  what  the 
point  is  of  these  arguments  about  this  race  and  that  race  and  the 
other  race  being  superior,"  and  other  things  that  mitigated  what 
he  said.   He  was  never  the  aggressive  racist  that  Douglas  was,  and 
he  always  made  that  famous  additional  statement,  that  as  far  as 
the  bread--how  did  it  go?--the  black  man  was  as  entitled  as  the 
white  man  to  the  fruits  of  his  labor.   On  that  score,  he  said,  "He 
is  my  equal  and  Mr.  Douglas'  equal  and  everybody's  equal." 

Lage:    He  said  that  in  the  debates? 
Stampp:   In  the  debates,  that's  right. 

Another  difference  was,  Lincoln  insisted  that  blacks  were 
included  in  the  statements  in  the  Declaration  of  Independence, 
that  all  men  are  created  equal  and  endowed  with  inalienable 

Lincoln  said,  "I  know  we're  not  there  yet,  but  the 
Declaration  of  Independence  holds  up  an  ideal  that  we  ought  to  be 
working  toward  over  the  years."   Douglas  said,  "The  Declaration  of 
Independence  never  was  intended  to  apply  to  black  men.   It  didn't 


apply  to  Fiji  Islanders  or  the  red  Indians  or  black  men  or  any 
other  race,  except  the  white  race."  There's  a  difference. 

Lage:    There's  a  big  difference  there,  yes. 

Stampp:   That's  the  burden  of  my  argument  there,  and  that  is  a  big  change 
from  what  I  was  thinking  in  the  1930s. 

Lage:    Well,  that  was  a  nice  piece,  I  thought,  nicely  crafted,  in  My  Life 
With  Lincoln. 

"Rebels  and  Sambos"  and  the  Black  Culture 

Lage:    I  wanted  to  talk  a  little  more  in  depth  about  this.   The  Peculiar 
Institution  is  sometimes  criticized  on  the  grounds  that  you 
underestimate  the  vitality  of  the  black  culture. 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  haven't  changed  very  much  on  that.   I  wrote  another  essay, 
and  it's  in  this  book,  in  which  I  address  some  of  the  critics  on 
that.   The  title  of  that  article  is  "Rebels  and  Sambos:  The  Search 
for  the  Negro's  Personality  in  Slavery."  This  is  really  an 
argument  against  Stanley  Elkins's  book  on  slavery.   I  went  to  some 
of  his  sources,  his  psychological  sources;  I  didn't  think  he  had 
used  them  properly,  and  I  quoted  other  things.   Harry  Stack 
Sullivan,  for  example,  has  some  generalizations  that  simply  don't 
fit  Elkins1  thesis  about  the  typical  Negro  being  truly  a  Sambo. 

Lage:    He  wasn't  arguing  for  much  black  culture  either,  was  he? 

Stampp:   No,  but  this  is  the  argument.   The  others,  [Eugene]  Genovese, 

[John]  Blassingame,  who  is  a  black  historian--!  think  it's  to  a 
considerable  extent  wishful  thinking. 

Lage:    What  about  Levine?  Lawrence  Levine's  work  on  spirituals  and-- 

Stampp:   Yes.   Okay,  I  think  he's  more  persuasive  than  Genovese.  My 
generalization  is  that  the  black  slave  was  sort  of  dangling 
between  an  African  culture  and  a  white  culture,  and  much  of  their 
black  culture  was  losing  its  validity.   There  were  no 
institutions,  no  social  institutions  to  maintain  the  standards 
that  one  associates  with  any  culture.  You've  got  to  have  some 
kind  of  coercive  institutions,  and  there  weren't  any. 

Lage:    When  you  say  coercive,  you  mean  schools? 


Stampp:   Well,  let's  take  our  white  culture.  We've  heard  a  great  deal 

about  "family  values"  lately,  but  in  the  nineteenth  century,  we 
had  all  kinds  of  sanctions  for  those  who  violated  the  traditional 
ideas  of  what  a  family  ought  to  be. 

The  blacks  didn't.   Every  black  family  was  in  a  precarious 
situation,  because  it  could  be  broken  up,  and  they  were  frequently 
broken  up.  The  father  was  not  the  head  of  the  family.   If  there 
was  a  head,  it  was  probably  the  mother  more  than  the  father.   The 
father  was  not  the  head  of  the  family  because  he  was  not  the 
ultimate  authority  in  the  family. 

The  ultimate  authority  was  the  overseer  or  the  owner,  who 
could  contradict  the  father,  who  could  punish  the  father  in  front 
of  his  children,  and  children  frequently  saw  their  mother  or  their 
father  punished,  corporally  punished.   The  fact  that  the  family 
could  be  broken  up- -the re  were  no  laws  preventing  the  breaking  up 
of  families.  When  the  master  died,  there  was  uncertainty  among 
the  slaves  about  whether  their  families  were  going  to  be  kept 
together  or  whether  they  weren't. 

All  of  that,  I  thought,  put  them  in  this  never-never  land. 
The  whites  held  up  their  moral  standards  to  the  blacks,  but  these 
standards  had  little  meaning  to  them.   Their  idea  of  moral 
behavior  is  helping  to  conceal  a  runaway,  not  turn  him  in.   Theft 
was  not  an  immoral  thing  to  do.  As  one  slave  once  said,  "I'm  not 
stealing.   I'm  property;  I'm  just  transferring  some  of  the 
property. " 

Lage:    What  about  the  black  culture  and  religion? 

Stampp:  As  I  pointed  out  in  that  essay  on  "Rebels  and  Sambos,"  I  dealt 
with  slave  religion  in  two  ways.  I  think  we  talked  about  this 
before . 

Lage:    We  did,  a  little  bit. 

Stampp:   Yes.   I  emphasized  religion  as  a  means  of  protest  by  the  slaves 

through  their  spirituals  and  folk  songs  and  so  on,  and  religion  as 
a  vehicle  of  discipline.  What  was  drummed  into  the  slaves  was 
their  religious  obligation  to  obey  their  masters—Christ  said  to 
obey  masters.  What  I  didn't  bring  out  was  Christianity  as  a 
religion  of  solace,  and  the  parts  of  the  Christian  doctrine  that 
slaves  could  take  and  find  ways  of  making  themselves  feel  good 
about  themselves.   All  men,  and  no  slaveholder  would  deny  this, 
all  men  (and  women,  they  should  have  said)  are  equal  in  the  sight 
of  God.   Doing  what  you're  supposed  to  do  is  a  virtue  —  obeying 
your  master,  doing  your  job—and  you'll  get  your  reward. 


This  was  a  way  of  disciplining  slaves,  a  technique  of 
control,  but  it  was  also,  it  seems  to  me  now  and  for  some  years,  a 
terribly  important  way  of  reconciling  slaves.  Maybe  it's  a  bad 
thing  to — 

Lage:    Or  helping  them  to  do  it. 

Stampp:   But  it's  a  way  of  reconciling  slaves  to  their  lot  in  life. 

I  didn't  say  that  they  had  no  culture  at  all,  and  I  didn't 
say  there  were  no  African  survivals.  There  were,  but  not  all  that 

Lage:    It's  interesting  because  that  debate  goes  on  even  today. 
Stampp:   I  simply  don't  agree  with  Melville  Herskowitz. 
Lage:    You  don't  agree  with  whom? 

Stampp:   Melville  Herskovits,  an  anthropologist  who  was  fascinated  by  the 
African  survivals  among  blacks  even  in  the  twentieth  century,  and 
I  think  he  exaggerated.  Genovese  sees  the  seeds  of  black 
nationalism  in  slave  days.   I  can't  see  this,  I  just  can't. 

Lage:    Of  black  nationalism? 
Stampp:   Of  black  nationalism. 

I  think  after  the  Civil  War,  blacks  withdrew  from  the  white 
churches  and  finally  built  up  a  social  institution  of  their  own-- 
that  is,  the  church--as  a  vehicle  for  self-expression  and  for 
cherishing  whatever  was  left  of  their  black  culture,  and  possibly 
in  the  long  run  developing  a  kind  of  feeling  of  black  nationalism. 
I  think  it  was  pretty  much  the  twentieth  century,  though,  before 
that  became  a  major  force  among  blacks.   It  seems  to  me  these  are 
post-Civil  War  developments. 

Lage:    Did  families  that  had  been  in  slavery  stay  together  after  the 
Civil  War? 

Stampp:  After  slavery?  By  and  large,  yes,  and  lots  of  them  went  back  to 
find  members  of  their  family  who  had  been  moved  somewhere  else. 


Current  Themes  in  History  and  the  Neelect  of  Political  History 

Lage:    I  brought  this  along  because  I  thought  this  was  very  interesting, 
the  essays  in  your  honor  by  your  students,  Perspectives  on  Race 
and  Slavery  in  America. 

Stampp:   Well,  I  like  what  Rob  Abzug  wrote;  what  he  said  about  my  slavery 
book  I  think  is  right. 

Lage:    He  had  a  lot  of  other  interesting  comments  about  your  work,  one 
being  that  you  have  this  larger  national  vision  of  American 
history  rather  than  the  particular—the  local,  the  race,  the 


Stampp:  Yes.  Well,  I've  done  both,  actually.  As  far  as  regional  history 
is  concerned,  that's  old—the  history  of  the  West,  history  of  the 
South,  histories  of  New  England. 

Lage:    Or  history  of  a  locality. 

Stampp:   And  history  of  localities-- just  look  back  through  the  American 

Historical  Review  or  the  Journal  of  American  History,  you'll  find 
a  lot  of  local  history  going  way  back  to  the  twenties. 

Lage:    He's  saying  that  you  emphasize  what's  common  more  often. 

Stampp:   Well,  I  think  I  did,  but  I  did  some  local  history  myself.   My 

doctoral  dissertation  was  a  study  of  Indiana  during  the  Civil  War. 
That's  local  history,  and  certainly  I've  done  a  lot  of  regional 
history  and  sectional  history—the  South. 

One  question  you  raised  was  what  I  think  about  gender 
history  and—what  else  do  you  have  there? 

Lage:    Ethnic. 

Stampp:   Ethnic.  Well,  I  think  they're  all  valuable,  and  certainly  there 
was  a  need  to  bring  women  into  history  far  more  than  they  were  in 
my  early  days.   The  work  that's  been  done  in  black  history  was 
necessary,  but  I've  wanted  it  in  a  context,  a  national  context. 
My  ultimate  hope  in  the  writing  and  teaching  of  history  is  to 
bring  in  these  groups  that  have  been  ignored  in  the  past— women 
and  ethnic  groups  —  into  the  texture  of  American  history.   I  think 
there  are  some  values  that  we  do  share  in  our  American  culture, 
and  thank  goodness  for  it,  because  we  would  be  flying  in  all 
directions  if  we  didn't. 


I'm  a  little  upset--!  should  say  a  lot  more  than  a  little 
upset—about  the  present  neglect  of  political  history.   It's 
ridiculous.   I  look  at  the  program  of  the  OAH,  and  I  see  page 
after  page  of  gender  history  and  ethnic  history  and— 

Lage:    [laughs]  Literary  theory  history. 

Stampp:   Histories  of  cleanliness—marriage  in  American  history,  divorce  in 
American  history—these  are  all  interesting  subjects,  but  three 
days  of  papers,  about  ten  papers  a  day—and  nobody  is  writing 
about  political  history  any  more,  as  if  it  isn't  important.  Of 
course  it  is  very  important. 

Lage:    And  of  course,  that's  not  all  you  wrote  about  either. 

Stampp:   I  didn't  write  political  history  exclusively.  My  slavery  book  has 
no  politics  in  it  at  all,  no  political  history,  and  my 
historiographical  writings  are  not  focused  entirely  on  political 

One  day,  somebody  is  going  to  give  a  presidential  address 
before  the  American  Historical  Association  on  the  neglected  aspect 
of  American  history:  political  history. 

Lage:    And  then  the  pendulum  will  swing. 

Stampp:   Yes.   Most  of  the  political  history  that's  being  done  right  now, 
almost  the  only,  is  by  the  new  political  historians  who  are 
interested  in  election  returns.   My  student  Bill  Gienapp  is  a  good 
example.   They  tend  to  put  very  heavy  emphasis  on  religious, 
ethnic,  and  cultural  factors  in  politics,  so  that  it  ultimately 
becomes  something  more  than  traditional  political  history. 

Lage:    Maybe  that's  what  the  new  political  history  will  contribute,  the 
incorporation  of  gender  and  ethnic  and  cultural  history  in 
political  history. 

Stampp:  Well,  if  they  help,  that's  fine.  Unfortunately,  a  number  of  them 
seem  to  feel  that  the  computer  is  sort  of  Open  Sesame  and 
everything  is  going  to  fall  into  place  and  going  to  be  simple.   I 
think  the  new  political  historians  have  made  a  tremendous 
contribution  in  making  historians  think  a  lot  more  about  the  kind 
of  informal  quantification  that  they  were  always  doing  without 
knowing  it—when  they  talk  about  few,  most,  the  overwhelming 
majority.   I  don't  think  we  thought  often  enough  about  what  we 
were  talking  about  when  we  say  "many."  Are  you  saying  20  percent, 
25  percent?  You  don't  always  have  to  be  that  specific,  and  I 
think  sometimes  these  quantifiers  get  more  specific  than  their 
data  justifies. 


That,  I  think,  is  a  major  contribution.   There  are  many 
things  that  you  cannot  say  25  percent  or  30  percent  for,  but  you 
really  ought  to  be  thinking  about  what  you  do  mean.   If  you  say 
"the  great  majority,"  what  are  you  talking  about?  Is  that  70 
percent?  You  ought  to  have  in  your  own  mind  some  idea—I'm 
thinking  about  maybe  two-thirds,  or  80  percent,  90  percent,  even 
if  you  don't  use  those  terms. 

Lage:    Or  if  you  look  at  an  individual  diary,  how  do  you  talk  about  it  as 
being  representative? 

Stampp:   You've  got  to  use  your  judgment  on  that.  And  you  can  be  very 

dishonest  about  it.  You  can  say,  "This  is  the  way  it  was,"  and 
then  generalize  from  a  quote  from  Charles  Francis  Adams  or 
someone,  and  that's  just  misusing  evidence. 

Lage:    Which  happens  whatever  type  of  history  you  write. 
Stampp:   Yes. 

An  Epic  and  Tragic  Sense 

Stampp : 



[Robert  H.]  Abzug  also  talks  about  your  "epic  and  tragic  senses." 
Is  that  something  you  yourself  think  of  consciously? 

Not  very  often,  I  think.   [laughter]   I  do  have  a  tragic  sense. 
This  gets  me  into  my  religious  thought.   I'm  an  agnostic.   I  don't 
really  think  that  there's  any  great  master  purpose  that  we  are  a 
part  of.   I  think  we're  all  caught  up  in  a  kind  of  tragedy.   That 
leads  me  to  some  ethical  values,  especially  that  if  we  all  are 
caught  up  in  this  human  tragedy,  we  should  not  make  things  worse 
for  others.   It  ought  to  give  us  some  compassion  even  for  people 
like  Richard  Nixon--that  stretches  my  compassion  to  the  ultimate 
limit.   But  if  I  try  terribly  hard,  I  can  look  at  the  man  and  his 
background  and  understand  a  little  bit  about  what  made  him  the 
disagreeable  person  he  was. 

Well,  it  seems  to  me  a  study  of  history  does  lend  itself  to 
feeling  that  way. 

I  think  so,  I  think  so. 

Your  writing  shows  compassion, 
respect . 

even  for  the  slaveholders  in  some 


Stampp:   Yes,  as  long  as  it's  kept  in  perspective.  Let's  not  shed  too  many 
tears  for  the  slaveholders  when  the  slaves  were  the  ones  who  were 
the  real  victims  of  the  institution.   But  one  can  understand—and 
I  think  I  can  from  reading  their  diaries—there  were  slaveholders 
who  showed  no  sign  of  guilt  feelings  about  slavery,  but  there  were 
lots  of  slaveholders  who  were  really  troubled  by  the  things  that 
they  had  to  do  to  maintain  slavery,  and  for  them,  one  ought  to 
have  some  compassion. 

One  ought  to  bear  in  mind  that  there  is  something  to  be 
understood  about  being  born  with  an  institution  like  that.   Those 
born  in  1820  didn't  start  it.  Remember  racial  feelings  of 
Northerners  who  weren't  surrounded  by  this  sea  of  blacks,  and  the 
fear  that  they  had  that  abolition  of  slavery  might  lead  to  great 
hordes  of  blacks  going  North.  Ultimately,  they  did,  and  many 
Northerners  weren't  happy  about  it.   I  think  if  one  reads  deeply 
into  the  records,  one  does  develop  some  compassion  for  all  the 
characters  that  we  study. 

Lage:  Right,  on  both  sides,  as  you  say,  even  Richard  Nixon. 

Stampp:  Yes.   Don't  press  me  on  that.   [laughter] 

Lage:  Okay.   You  must  have  enjoyed  Watergate,  then. 

Stampp:  Oh,  I  loved  it. 

Working  with  Graduate  Students 

Lage:    Let's  talk  about  teaching,  too,  because  that  comes  out  in  this 
book.  We  have  talked  somewhat  about  your  lectures  to 
undergraduates,  but  what  about  graduate  students—who  you've 
taught,  how  you've  taught? 

Stampp:   I  liked  running  what  used  to  be  called—are  there  still  courses 
called  201,  graduate  reading  courses? 

Lage:    I  think  so. 

Stampp:   Graduate  reading  courses.   I  enjoyed  those,  and  gave  them  fairly 
regularly,  and  I  enjoyed  seminars.  That  was  probably  the  part  of 
teaching  I  loved  most— especially  in  later  years.  When  I  was 
young,  I  liked  lecturing  to  undergraduates,  and  during  the  first 
fourteen  years  I  was  here  I  taught  the  survey  course  in  American 


Lage:     Fourteen  years? 

Stampp:  After  fourteen  years,  I  felt  sort  of  worn  out,  and  I  thought  it 

was  time  to  turn  it  over  to  someone  else.   I  was  pretty  good  at  it 
when  I  started,  but  I  began  to  feel  that  I  was  not  doing  it  as 

Lage:    Did  you  tend  to  redo  your  lectures  or  just  kind  of  give  the  same 
lectures  each  time? 

Stampp:   Well,  no.   I  think  if  you're  alive,  your  lectures  change.   I  never 
just  sat  down  and  said,  "Now,  I'm  going  to  write  a  whole  new  set 
of  lectures."  They  kept  changing  and  changing,  and  I  kept  putting 
new  things  in  and  taking  things  out,  revising.  That's  something 
that  just  keeps  going  on. 

But  less  so  in  the  survey  course.   It  is  so  general.   It's 
in  your  advanced  courses.  My  course  on  the  old  South,  for 
example,  which  I  enjoyed  particularly.   I  started  off  when  I  first 
began  teaching  that  course  by  arguing  my  conviction  that  slavery 
was  an  unprofitable  institution,  and  then  I  found  that  it  was 
profitable,  and  I  had  to  change  it  completely.  A  lot  of  other 
things  I  revised  that  way. 

I  did  like  lecturing  to  my  upper  division  course,  and  I 
think  I  continued  to  be  pretty  good  in  that  course. 

Seminars  here  were  very  different  from  what  I  told  you  about 
at  Wisconsin—having  to  stay  in  the  same  seminar  with  your  major 
professor.   That  wasn't  true  here.  Well,  I  had  a  lot  of  students 
who  took  my  seminar  who  never  worked  with  me.   They  might  be 
working  in  ancient  history,  but  they  had  to  take  a  seminar  in  some 
other  field.   I  was  interested  in  their  knowing  the  sources,  and 
in  the  early  weeks,  I  would  have  them  look  into  sources-- 1850s 
newspapers  or  manuscripts  or  whatever--to  get  something  of  the 
flavor  of  the  period  and  have  them  write  little  reports  or  give 
oral  reports  on  them. 

As  far  as  my  graduate  students—apart  from  seminars,  the 
ones  who  wrote  dissertations  with  me— I  think  I  was  very  flexible. 
I  let  students  work  on  whatever  they  wanted,  if  I  thought  they  had 
found  a  subject  that  had  some  promise  in  it.   I  had  one  student 
who  wrote  a  book  on  Irish  immigration  to  the  United  States.   It 
started  in  my  seminar;  he  wrote  a  seminar  paper  on  relations 
between  Irish  immigrants  and  free  blacks  in  New  York  City. 
Somehow,  that  got  him  interested  in  the  Irish,  and  it  went  on  and 
on,  and  the  next  thing  I  knew,  he  was  writing  a  book  on  Irish 


Lage:    Under  your  tutelage? 

Stampp:   Yes,  and  it's  a  very  good  book. 

I  never  tried  to  impose  an  interpretation.  There  is  no  such 
thing  as  a  Stampp  school  of  Civil  War  historiography. 

Lage:    Was  that  in  reaction  to  Hesseltine,  or  just  your  own-- 

Stampp:   It  might  be,  I  hadn't  thought  of  that.  Maybe  it  was.   I  just 

didn't  feel  that  I  should  do  that.   Bill  Gienapp,  for  example,  in 
his  book  on  the  origins  of  the  Republican  party;  some  of  his 
interpretations  I  disagree  with,  but  he  makes  an  awfully  good 
case.   He's  one  of  these  new  historians  who  emphasize  ethnic  and 
religious  differences  as  determining  political  behavior.   He  makes 
a  good  case.   I  don't  agree  with  it  entirely,  but  it's  a  good 

Lage:    What  do  you  do  when  you're  supervising  a  dissertation  and  you 
simply  don't  agree  with  the  student? 

Stampp:   There's  a  difference  between  saying,  "This  argument  is  not  clear. 
It  doesn't  strike  me  as  persuasive."   Bill's  arguments—he  makes 
good  cases  for  them,  and  that's  fine.   But  there  is  a  difference 
between  somebody  who  is  just  confused  and  somebody  who  has  a 
coherent  conception  about  how  people  behave  and  some  evidence. 

Dissertations:  Problems  with  Prose 

Stampp:   There  were  several  students  who  began  writing  dissertations  with 
me  who  I  concluded  just  didn't  have  the  talent--lots  of  problems 
with  prose;  they  simply  didn't  have  the  talent  to  write  an 
interesting  and  original  piece  of  work.   I  told  them  they  had 
better  quit,  and  they  did. 

Lage:    Did  you  do  that  more  than  most  professors,  or  is  that  fairly 

Stampp:   I  don't  know.   I  don't  think  I've  ever  asked  anyone. 
Lage:    That  must  be  a  hard  thing  to  tell  somebody. 

Stampp:   Terribly  hard,  terribly  hard.   Oddly  enough,  there  were  a  few  whom 
I  labored  with,  and  they  finally  got  degrees,  and  then  they  never 
did  anything,  and  I  just  wondered,  Why  on  earth  did  I  spend  all 
the  time? 









Stampp ; 

Right.  They  might  have  been  better  off — 

--doing  something  else.  And  there  were  several  students  who 
simply  never  finished.  Oh,  how  many?   [counts]   Probably  half  a 

Never  finished  because  you  told  them — 

Well,  I  just  told  them,  "I  don't  think  you're  going  to  write  a--." 
One  of  the  saddest  cases  was  somebody  who  left  and  got  a  job 
teaching  at  the  University  of  Hawaii  at  Hilo.   He  got  leave  to 
come  back  to  Berkeley  to  write  his  dissertation.   He  was  here--I 
can't  remember  whether  it  was  for  the  whole  year  or  half  a  year. 
Anyway,  after  he  was  back  here  for  a  couple  of  months,  his  work 
was  no  better.   I  told  him,  "You're  just  not  going  to--you  can  try 
someone  else,  but  you're  not  going  to  write  a  dissertation  that 
I'm  going  to  approve."  One  problem  was  prose.   It's  appalling  how 
many  students  get  past  their  M.A.  and  have  trouble  writing  clear 

Now,  is  that  something  you  saw  change  over  time?  A  lot  of  people 
say,  "Oh,  back  in  the  old  days,  everybody  wrote  well." 

Not  here.   I'll  tell  you,  the  students  I  remember  back  in  the 
forties  and  early  fifties  were  worse  than  the  ones  now.   There  was 
a  real  difference--!  ran  a  seminar  at  Harvard,  and  I  ran  two 
seminars  at  Oxford,  and  these  students  had  preparation  in 
composition.   I  remember,  especially  at  Oxford,  I  could  read  their 
papers  and  never  worry  about  their  prose. 


There  are  students  who  come  to  the  university  who  never  did 
anything  but  multiple  choice  or  true-false  tests,  never  had  to 
write  an  essay. 

does . 

We  don't  get  the  very  cream  of  the  crop,  like  Harvard 

No,  but  the  crop  is  creamier  now  than  it  was  when  I  first  came 

Do  you  want  to  talk  in  particular  about  any  of  your  graduate 
students  over  the  years  who  you've  either  been  particularly  close 
to  or  proud  of? 

I  was  proud  of  practically  all  of  those  who  got  degrees  ultimately 
and  wrote  dissertations.   I  can  think  of  only  two  that  weren't 


published,  but  the  rest  of  them  all  got  their  dissertations 
published,  and  I  think  that's  very  good  indeed. 


Stampp : 



Would  you  spend  a  lot  of  time  reading  it? 
it,  back  and  forth  like  that? 

Getting  them  to  revise 

Oh,  yes  indeed,  and  a  lot  of  time  on  prose.   I  would  do  a  lot  of 
rewriting  for  them--I  would  do  it  for  a  few  pages,  and  say,  "Now, 
look.   Read  the  pages  that  I  have  copyedited,  and  then  I  hope 
you'll  see  from  that  what's  wrong  with  the  way  you're  writing." 
Usually  it  worked. 

I  remember--! 'm  not  going  to  mention  names--!  remember  one 
student,  though,  whose  dissertation  was  eventually  published  and 
is  quite  good,  but  the  prose  was  just  terrible.   I  usually  told 
the  students,  "Please  give  me  your  dissertation  chapter  by 
chapter,  so  that  if  there  are  problems  in  composition,  you'll  find 
them  out  at  the  beginning."  Instead  of  doing  that,  he  sent  me  the 
whole  manuscript.   I  wrote  to  him  and  said,  "It's  just  got  to  be 
totally  rewritten.   This  is  just  not  passable  prose."  Two  weeks 
later,  it  was  all  back.   He  had  tinkered  with  it  a  little  bit.   I 
had  to  write  back  and  say,  "You  don't  understand.   This  is  not 
well  enough  written  for  me  to  accept  it  and  sign  it." 

He  was  off  site,  I  can  see. 

Yes,  he  was  somewhere  in  the  East,  I  can't  remember  where  at  the 

So  I  didn't  get  it  then  for  several  months,  and  finally  it 
came  back  in  readable  form.   I  don't  know  whether  he  had  somebody 
help  him,  but  fine  if  somebody  helped  him. 

I  had  another  student  who  should  have  dropped  out  because 
his  prose  was  terrible.   I  kept  working  at  it  and  working  at  it. 
Ultimately,  he  got  his  Ph.D.,  went  off  to  New  Mexico,  Highlands 
University,  I've  never  heard  of  him  or  from  him  since.  He  went 
away  angry  with  me  for  being  so  persnickety,  so  that  was  a  bad 

Now,  you  emphasize  prose  a  lot. 

I  do. 

Did  you  have  as  much  trouble  with  use  of  sources  and  reasoning? 

Yes.   I  didn't  have  problems  with  all  of  them.   I  had  a  number  of 
students  whose  prose--Bill  Gienapp,  Bob  Abzug,  Bill  [William  H.] 
Freehling,  Jack  [John  C.]  Sproat,  Leon  [Litwack]--!  had  very 


little  problem  with  them.  Oh,  and  Mark  Summers  and  Kerby  Miller. 
Who  else?  Well,  quite  a  lot  of  them. 

Lage:    Who  wrote  well? 

Stampp:   Who  wrote  at  least  quite  passable  prose.  Then  there  were  some 

others--!  had  one  student  whose  dissertation  with  some  reluctance 
I  approved  of,  but  I  told  him,  "This  is  not  ready  for 
publication."  He  sent  it  off  to  a  university  press,  and  I 
wondered  about  the  ethics  of  it,  but  I  decided  I  had  to  protect  my 
reputation.   I  wrote  to  them  and  said,  "I  did  not  tell  him  to  send 
this  to  you,  because  I  don't  think  it's  ready  for  publication," 
and  they  did  reject  it.   I  had  to  think  of  other  students,  and  I 
wanted  to  make  sure  they  understood  that  I  had  not  told  him  to 
send  it,  I  had  not  recommended  it. 

Lage:    Because  that  might  be  an  expectation. 

Stampp:   Because  my  reputation  as  a  critic  might  be  questioned,  and  that 
might  do  damage  to  other  students  of  mine.   So  I  did  do  that. 
Incidentally,  his  dissertation  was  never  published.   That  was  one 
that  was  never  published.   He  never  could  get  it  into  shape  for 

John  G.  Sproat 

Lage:  Was  it  Jack  Sproat  who  wrote  the  short  biography  of  you  that  you 
sent  to  me  [from  Twentieth-Century  American  Historians,  vol.  17, 
Dictionary  of  Literary  Biography,  1983]? 

Stampp:   Yes. 

Lage:    Tell  me  about  him.   He  was  an  early  student,  wasn't  he? 

Stampp:   He  was  an  early  student.   He's  a  veteran  of  World  War  II.   He  was 
born  in  San  Jose,  grew  up  in  San  Jose,  went  to  San  Jose  State  as 
an  undergrad  before  the  war.   I  think  he's  only  nine  years  younger 
than  I  am. 

Lage:     So  he  was  one  of  those  returning  veterans  without  too  much  age 

Stampp:   That's  right,  and  he's  a  charming  man.   He  wrote  a  very  good 

dissertation  which  was  published  eventually.   It  was  his  wife  who 
nagged  him  into  publishing  it  finally.   He  had  to  do  some 
revising.  We  have  been  very  good  friends.   He  just--he's  retired 










now — just  celebrated  his  seventy-fifth  birthday.  When  I  was 
teaching  at  Harvard  and  he  was  doing  research  on  his  dissertation 
in  1955,  he  came  to  Massachusetts  and  stayed  with  us  for  a  week  or 
more,  I  guess,  while  he  was  doing  research  there. 

I  got  to  know  him  very  well,  and  in  the  sixties  my  wife  got 
to  know  his  wife.  He  had  had  a  divorce  and  remarried.  My  wife, 
Isabel,  and  his  wife  Ruth  were  very  close.  They  were  on  the 
Atlantic  Coast  and  we  on  the  Pacific  Coast,  but  they  communicated 
by  telephone  and  letters.  His  wife,  Ruth,  said,  "Well,  she's  my 
best  friend,  and  we're  like  sisters."  I  like  Jack,  I'm  very  fond 
of  him.   I  wish  he  had  kept  doing  research. 

He  wrote  a  very  good  book  on  reform,  middle-class  reformers 
in  the  late  nineteenth  century  called  The  Best  Men  (New  York: 
Oxford  University  Press,  1968),  first-rate.  Then  he  went  years 
doing  very  little.   He  recently  did  a  book  in  collaboration  with 
another  man  on  banking  in  South  Carolina,  which  is  interesting. 

Is  that  where  he  teaches,  South  Carolina? 

He  taught  at  the  University  of  South  Carolina,  was  head  of  the 
department,  and  then  continued  as  a  professor  there  for,  I  guess 
the  last  twenty  years.  He  taught  at  Lake  Forest  College  before 
that.   He  taught  at  Williams  for  a  while. 

Is  any  of  it  the  atmosphere  at  the  school  where  they  work? 
Cal  kind  of  promote  keeping  your  nose  to  the  grindstone? 


Well,  it  should.   It  doesn't  as  much  as  it  ought  to  sometimes,  but 
that's  what  theoretically  it's  supposed  to  do. 

Now,  if  I  remember  correctly  from  that  bio  Jack  wrote,  he  made  the 
remark  that  you  had  mellowed,  particularly  after  your  second 

[laughs]   Oh,  my  students  always  tell  me  that  I've  mellowed.   I 
probably  have. 

Towards  your  students,  it  sounded  like  he  meant,  that  maybe  you 
weren't  as  hard  a  taskmaster. 

Yes.   I  don't  think  my  standards  were  changed,  but  I  might  have 
been  a  little  softer  in  the  way  I  would  criticize.  Yes,  I  think 
my  wife  helped  mellow  me. 

Well,  it's  kind  of  nice  to  hear  that  said  about  yourself, 


Stampp:   Right.  As  long  as  it  doesn't  mean  what  it  might  mean.  Mellow 
might  be  overripe  or  something.   [laughter] 

Lage:    Anything  else  you  want  to  say  about  your  graduate  students  or 

Stampp:   They  were  wonderful.   I  suppose  more  than  anything  else,  they  have 
made  all  the  work  and  all  the  time  I  spent  worthwhile. 

Lage:    Did  they  ever  send  you  off  in  new  directions  in  your  thinking  or 

Stampp:   Oh,  they  certainly  did,  and  they  certainly  made  me  think  about 
things  that—Bill  Gienapp  certainly  had  an  impact  on  me,  Bill 
Freehling  has  had  an  impact,  Rob  Abzug  has  had  an  impact  on  me.   I 
used  to  have  my  graduate  students  come  out  a  couple  of  times  a 
term  to  the  house,  and  we  had  a  buffet  supper.   Each  time, 
somebody  had  a  paper  to  read.   I  think  sometimes  they  were  not  all 
that  happy  about  all  these  papers  they  had,  but  they  were  related 
to  their  dissertation,  so  it  wasn't  something  different. 

I  remember  those  evenings,  and  they  do,  too,  very  well. 
They  remember  my  wife  and  her  hospitality.   Those  were  evenings 
when  we  had  interchanges,  and  that's  when  I  learned  a  great  deal 
from  them. 

Lage:    There  really  does  seem  to  be  a  synergy  between  the  teaching  and 
the  research. 

Stampp:   Right.   Oh,  I  think  so. 

Lage:    If  you  were  just  a  research  historian—you  don't  hear  of  research 
historians  too  often. 

Stampp:   No,  and  1  keep  in  touch  with  most  of  my  former  students,  though 
I've  lost  contact  with  a  few. 

Lage:    Will  a  lot  of  them  be  at  the  seminar  on  The  Peculiar  Institution 
in  the  fall? 

Stampp:   Well,  Little  Rock  isn't  the  most  attractive  place,  even  if  Bill 
Clinton  might  be  there  then.   I  don't  know  how  many  will  get 
there.   I  know  Jack  Sproat  will  be  there,  and  probably  Leon 
because  he's  an  inveterate  convention-goer.   He  hasn't  had  enough 
of  it  yet.   Who  else  will  be  there,  I  don't  know. 



Thoughts  on  Retirement;  Making  the  Transition 

Lage :    Do  you  have  any  thoughts  about  what  it's  like  to  be  retired? 

Stampp:   Well,  for  me,  retirement  was  difficult,  because  I  like  teaching. 
I  sort  of  dreaded  retirement.   The  retirement  age  when  I  was 
supposed  to  retire  was  sixty-seven. 

Lage:    At  that  time,  was  it  mandatory? 

Stampp:   Well,  the  transition  was  just  taking  place  to  put  it  up  to 

seventy.   Now  you  can  teach  as  long  as  you  like,  I  suppose.   I 
didn't  want  to  retire  at  sixty-seven.   The  university  at  that  time 
offered  something  called  phased  retirement.   They  were  worried 
that  if  they  made  us  retire  at  sixty-seven,  they  might  get  in 
trouble  with  the  federal  government,  so  they  had  this  phased 
retirement  program,  and  I  went  into  that.   So  the  last  three 
years,  I  taught  40  percent  time.   That  helped.   It  helped  the 

When  I  was  fully  retired  here,  I  went  right  off  the  next 
term  and  taught  at  Williams  College  for  a  term,  and  I  did  that 
because  I  had  never  taught  in  a  small  liberal-arts  college.   I 
knew  it  was  different,  and  I  wanted  to  see  whether  I  could  do  it, 
coming  out  of  state  universities.   I  did  my  own  work  in  state 
universities,  did  all  my  teaching  in  state  universities—Arkansas, 
Maryland,  Berkeley—and  even  in  visiting— Harvard  wasn't  a  state 
university,  but  it  was  a  big  university.   So  I  enjoyed  the  term  at 
Williams  College  very  much,  very  good  students.   It  was  a  nice 

Lage:    Were  they  small  classes? 

Stampp:   Small  classes--!  lectured  to  thirty-five  students  instead  of  150, 
and  that  was  nice. 



When  I  finished  at  Williams,  I  was  well  into  this  last  book, 
and  then  I  was  sort  of  glad.   I  could  now  for  the  first  time  just 
think  about  that  book  and  work  on  the  book.   So  I  think  the  real 
tough  thing  was  finishing  that  book. 

I  finished  in  1989.   I  went  into  a  depression.   I  really 
went  into  a  depression.   I  knew  I  was  not  going  to  write  another 
book.   I  had  known  a  number  of  historians  who  wrote  one  too  many 
books,  and  I  was  not  going  to  do  that. 

Now,  why  did  you  feel  that  way,  that  you  wouldn't  write  another 

Stampp:   Well,  that  book,  1857,  again  dealt  with  a  lot  of  problems  that  I 
had  wrestled  with  over  the  years,  chapters  on  some  problems, 
topics  that  I  wanted  to  write  about,  and  I  just  felt  that  I 

I'll  give  you  one  reason.   The  kind  of  books  that  I  wrote 
involved  lots  of  travel  to  Eastern  libraries,  and  I  didn't  really 
feel  like  spending  three  weeks  at  Cambridge  and  a  month  in  New 
York  and  a  month  in  the  South.   I  just  didn't  feel  like  doing  it. 
So  that  was  it. 

So  I  knew  I  had  written  my  last  book,  and  I  wasn't  going  to 
teach  any  more.   I  began,  "What  are  you  going  to  do?"  and  I  went 
into  a  bit  of  a  depression.   I  went  to  my  doctor  and  told  him  that 
I  was  feeling  very  down,  and  he  was  awfully  helpful.   He  said, 
"You'll  get  over  it."  And  I  did. 

Lage:     Sometimes  that's  all  you  need  to  hear. 

Isabel's  Illnesses 

Stampp:   Yes.   Then--my  wife's  first  physical  problem  was  breast  cancer, 
which  she  found  out  she  had  in  the  summer  of  1990,  and  that  was 
not  long  after  the  book  was  finished.   I  began  to  put  more  and 
more  of  my  time  into—she  had  a  succession  of  things.   She  had  a 
lumpectomy,  and  after  that  she  had  to  have  radiation  and 
chemotherapy,  because  there  had  been  metastasis  into  some  lymph 
nodes.   So  I  was  doing  a  lot  of  the  shopping  and  work  around  the 
house  and  so  on. 

Soon  after  that,  she  had  an  acute  case  of  what's  called 
spinal  stenosis.   It's  caused  by  arthritis.   It's  a  narrowing  of 


the  canal  in  your  spinal  cord,  and  she  was  beginning  to  feel 
numbness  in  her  thigh.   That  led  to  more  surgery. 

Lage:    Oh,  dear,  she  had  so  many  problems  these  last  few  years. 

Stampp:   Yes,  it  was  the  last  five  and  a  half  years,  and  it  was  just  one 

thing  after  another.  The  back  surgery  was  very  tricky,  because  if 
he  had  made  a  little  slip  and  cut  a  nerve,  it  would  have  meant 
some  paralysis  in  her  leg.  Anyway,  it  took  a  long  time  to 
recuperate  from  it.   Then  not  long  after  that—she  had  had  a 
problem  with  atrial  fibrillation  for  a  long  time,  and  she  would  go 
into  the  hospital.  They  have  a  shock  treatment  for  stopping  your 
heart  and  then  starting  it  again  in  rhythm.   This  would  be  okay 
for  five  years  or  so,  and  then  about  1993,  "94,  they  couldn't  get 
it  back  into  rhythm  any  more.   Some  people  are  able  to  live  with 
it,  but  she  couldn't. 

Lage:    It's  not  something  a  pacemaker  could  resolve. 

Stampp:   That  was  ultimately  the  solution.   So  that's  more  surgery.  With 
the  pacemaker- -this  is  relatively  new,  using  it  —  there  are 
electrocardiologists  who  do  this,  and  it  seemed  to  me  they  were 
always  tinkering  with  it.  They  would  decide  it  was  a  little  too 
fast  or  a  little  too  slow.   So  that  happened,  and  I  thought,  okay, 
we're  in  the  clear  now.   She  had  gone  almost  five  years  with  no 
recurrence  of  breast  cancer,  and  she  had  this  surgery  for  her 
spinal  stenosis,  and  now  her  heart  was  in  rhythm. 

Then  the  next  thing  that  happened— last  fall,  she  began  to 
feel  very  breathless,  and  I  thought,  well,  it's  just  the 
pacemaker.   Go  see  your  doctor  and  have  him  redo  it.   But  the 
doctor  said,  "It's  not  the  pacemaker.   You  have  a  heart  valve 
which  is  leaking,"  they  call  it  regurgitation— it  didn't  close. 
Well,  that  really  was  a  blow  because  that  meant  open-heart 
surgery.   It  was  last  fall,  she  was  feeling— she  tired  very 

In  early  January,  they  decided  she  had  to  have  surgery  to 
replace  the  valve,  and  that  was  almost  the  last  straw  for  both  of 
us,  I  think.   She  had  the  surgery  in  February,  and  the  surgeon 
told  me  it  was  a  complete  success,  and  she  stayed  in  the  hospital 
for  a  week  after  that.   Both  her  cardiologist  and  her  surgeon 
said,  "She's  doing  wonderfully  well.   She's  progressing  faster 
than  normal."  She  came  home,  and  she  lived  for  four  weeks.   There 
was  some  little  problem,  it  had  to  do  with  her  pacemaker.   She  was 
beginning  to  accumulate  fluid.   But  that  was  something  you  can 
take  care  of.   Then  early  in  the  morning  of  March  8,  she  died  in 
her  sleep. 


Lage:    More  or  less  unexpected. 

Stampp:  While  I  was  away  after  her  death,  I  began  thinking  about  this. 

Her  death  at  that  time  was  unexpected.  That  was  a  terrible  shock, 
because  everyone  thought  she  was  over  the  critical  period.   But  I 
began  thinking  about  the  whole  five  and  a  half  years. 

Lage:    Yes,  how  much  can  a  body  take? 

Stampp:   Yes,  exactly.   She  was  still  not  out  of  the  trouble  zone  because 
her  arthritis  was  still  very  bad.  When  she  was  in  the  hospital 
after  the  surgery,  she  told  me,  "Well,  you  know,  the  pain  from  the 
surgery  is  nothing  compared  to  the  pain  I  have  from  arthritis." 

Lage:    Oh,  dear. 

Stampp:   Her  right  thigh  was  getting  numb  again,  and  later  I  began  to  think 
maybe  the  time  had  come  for  her  to  die.  That's  hard  to  think  of, 
but  it  just  seemed--in  that  context,  her  death  was  not  all  that 
sudden.   There  had  certainly  been  enough  warning. 

Lage:  The  five  year  kind  of  warning. 

Stampp:  Yes,  enough  warning  about  it.   But-- 

Lage:  It's  still  hard  to  take. 

Stampp:  It's  hard  to  take.   It's  hard  to  take.  We  were  so  close. 

Lage:    Did  the  trip  to  Europe—we  don't  have  to  keep  this  is  on  if  it 

seems  so  personal—was  that  a  good  thing  for  you,  or  was  it  hard? 

Stampp:   I  don't  know.   I  went  to  see  her  brother,  whom  I  like  very  much, 
and  spent  three  days  with  him  in  southwestern  England,  in  lovely 
hilly  area.   I  like  him,  and  we  went  for  two  long  walks  up  into 
the  hills,  and  then  one  half  day  we  spent  at  Wells  Cathedral  near 
Bristol,  not  far,  maybe  thirty  miles  from  Bristol.  Wells  is  one 
of  the  really  marvelous  cathedrals.   It's,  they  say,  the  only 
purely  Gothic  cathedral  in  England. 

Going  to  Switzerland,  where  Isabel  and  I  went  on  our 
honeymoon  and  many  times  after  that,  was  not  the  greatest  idea. 
Everything  was  beautiful,  the  flowers—we  used  to  go  to  see  the 
flowers  in  June.  My  wife  loved  the  wildf lowers.   I  had  some  very 
nice  walks,  but--. 

Lage:     It's  putting  yourself  through  a  lot  to  do  that. 
Stampp:   Yes.   There  were  far  too  many  ghosts. 


Lage:    Yes.   Maybe  a  couple  more  years. 

Stampp:   Maybe.   I  thought  I  wouldn't  go  back  there  again. 

The  Four  Children 

Lage:    Now,  mention  just  what  your  children  are  doing.  We  talked  at  some 
length  about  one  of  your  daughters.   I  don't  think  any  of  it  was 

Stampp:   Well,  we  have  four  children.   I  told  you  that  my  wife  had  a  child 
by  a  previous  marriage.   I  had  two  children  by  a  previous 
marriage,  and  we  had  our  own  daughter.   Isabel's  daughter  is  a 
clinical  psychologist  who  specializes  in  cases  of  brain  damage  and 
spinal  damage. 

Lage:    And  what  is  her  name? 

Stampp:   Michele.   She  has  the  name  of  her  father,  her  real  father,  who 
happens  to  live  in  Toronto,  where  she  lives.   Her  name  is 
McCartney-Filgate.   She  now  has  a  private  practice  and  is  doing 
very  well.   She's  married  to  a  lawyer,  and  they  do  fine. 

My  son  got  a  B.A.  in  Berkeley  and  an  M.A.  at  Berkeley,  and 
was  doing  Ph.D.  work  in  aesthetics  and  philosophy.   For  some 
reason  or  other  he  didn't  finish.   I  don't  know  why. 

Lage:  Is  he  Ken  also? 

Stampp:  Ken,  Kenneth. 

Lage:  So  he  was  in  philosophy? 

Stampp:  Yes,  but  he  majored  in  history  as  an  undergrad. 

Lage:  At  Cal? 

Stampp:  At  Cal. 

Lage:  Was  that  difficult? 

Stampp:   No.   I  wanted  him  to  go  somewhere  else,  but  he  wouldn't.   I  tried 
to  get  him  to  go  to  Dartmouth,  I  tried  to  get  him  to  go  to 
Wisconsin- -anywhere  out  of  Berkeley,  for  heaven's  sakes,  but  he 
wouldn't  leave  Berkeley.   He  finally  got  a  job  at  Capwell's,  and 
for  a  while  he  sold  shoes  at  Capwell's.   He's  still  working  at 


what  used  to  be  Capwell's,  Macy's  now.   He  does  advertising 
writing  for  them,  and  he  also  teaches  staff.  He  runs  seminars  for 
new  staff,  showing  them  how  to  use  the  computer  system.   So  that's 
what  he  does.   He's  unmarried,  living  with  his  mother. 

My  daughter,  Sally,  went  to  Santa  Barbara.   I  persuaded  her 
to  get  out  of  Berkeley  for  two  years  anyway.   She  went  to  Santa 
Barbara  for  two  years  and  then  came  back  here. 

Lage:    There's  an  attraction.  My  daughter  is  here,  too. 

Stampp:   They  love  Berkeley.   She  majored  in  psychology,  as  Michele  did, 
and  got  her  B.A.  and  got  a  Ph.D.  in  psychology  in  Berkeley.   She 
got  a  job  at  St.  Mary's  College  and  has  been  there  ever  since,  and 
been  very  successful  as  a  teacher.   She's  been  living  for  fifteen 
years  with  a  young  lady--not  all  that  young,  upper  forties—who  is 
a  school  psychologist.  They're  wonderful,  and  this  is  absolutely 
right  for  both  of  them.   They  met  somehow;  they  lived  close 
together.   It  makes  me  happy  to  see  them  because  they  are  so 
obviously  happy  together. 

Lage:    Oh,  that's  good. 

Stampp:  And  Jenny,  our  daughter,  who  is  now  thirty-three,  graduated  from 

Santa  Barbara.   She  went  away.   It's  not  really  the  place  I  wanted 
her  to  be,  but  that's  where  she  decided  to  go.   She  majored  in 
psychology,  so  I  have  three  daughters  in  psychology. 

Lage:    Gee,  you've  got  a  lot  of  interest  in  psychology  in  the  family. 

Stampp:   Yes.   She  was  thinking  about  doing  graduate  work  and  then  decided 
not  to.   She  had  another  job  somewhere,  but  she  has  had  a  job  now 
for  some  years  at  a  private  school  in  El  Cerrito--Prospect  School 
--grades  one  through  six,  and  they're  thinking  of  possibly  running 
it  on  through  ninth  grade. 

Lage:    So  she  teaches? 

Stampp:   She  did  a  bit,  but  she's  running  the  office  there,  and  she  puts 
out  their  newsletter,  or  whatever  it  is,  and  runs  their  computer 
and  does  their  payroll,  and  she  loves  it.   She  has  a  boyfriend,  a 
sort  of  semi-live-in  boyfriend.   She  has  her  own  apartment,  but 
they're  together  all  weekend.   One  of  these  years,  she  might  get 
married,  I  don't  know. 

Lage:    Are  there  any  other  thoughts  that  come  to  mind? 
Stampp:   I  don't  know  of  anything  more  to  say. 


Lage:    Okay.   I  think  when  you  look  at  the  transcript,  if  there's 

something  we  haven't  covered,  there  will  be  a  chance  at  that 

Transcribed  and  Final  Typed  by  Shannon  Page 


TAPE  GUIDE- -Kenneth  M.  Stampp 

Interview  1:  April  4,  1996 
Tape  1,  Side  A 
Tape  1,  Side  B 
Insert  from  Tape  2,  Side  A 
Resume  Tape  1,  Side  B 
Tape  2,  Side  A 
Tape  2,  Side  B  not  recorded 

Interview  10:  January  21,  1997' 
Tape  19,  Side  A 
Tape  19,  Side  B 

Interview  2:  April  16,  1996 

Tape  3,  Side  A  (last  few  minutes) 

Tape  3,  Side  B 

Insert  from  Tape  19 

Resume  Tape  3,  Side  B 

Tape  4,  Side  A 

Tape  4,  Side  B  not  recorded 

Interview  3:  April  30,  1996 
Tape  5,  Side  A 
Tape  5,  Side  B 
Tape  6,  Side  A 
Tape  6,  Side  B  not  recorded 

Interview  4:  May  7,  1996 
Tape  7,  Side  A 
Tape  7,  Side  B 
Tape  8,  Side  A 
Tape  8,  Side  B 

Interview  5:  May  14,  1996 
Tape  9,  Side  A 
Tape  9,  Side  B 
Tape  10,  Side  A 
Tape  10,  Side  B 








'Interview  10  was  a  make-up  session  to  replace  the  material  covered  in 
Interview  2  which  was  lost  due  to  a  recording  malfunction. 


Interview  6:  May  23,  1996 

Tape  11,  Side  A  170 

Tape  11,  Side  B  180 

Tape  12,  Side  A  190 

Tape  12,  Side  B  201 

Interview  7:  May  28,  1996 

Tape  13,  Side  A  204 

Tape  13,  Side  B  214 

Tape  14,  Side  A  224 
Tape  14,  Side  B  not  recorded 

Interview  8:  June  4,  1996 

Tape  15,  Side  A  230 

Tape  15,  Side  B  239 

Tape  16,  Side  A  249 

Tape  16,  Side  B  261 

Interview  9:  July  9,  1996 

Tape  17,  Side  A  268 

Tape  17,  Side  B  279 

Tape  18,  Side  A  290 
Tape  18,  Side  B  not  recorded 


"Commemorating  Stampp,"  from  California  Monthly.  March-April,  1984. 


Commemorating  Stampp 

The  end  of  an  era  was 
marked  last  December  30 
when  friends  and  former 
students  of  Kenneth  M.  Stampp 
gathered  at  Jack's  restaurant  in 
San  Francisco  to  celebrate  his 
retirement  from  the  Berkeley 
history  department.  Scheduled 
to  coincide  with  the  annual 
meeting  of  the  American  Histor 
ical  Association,  the  dinner  was 
organized  by  Stephen  E.  Maizlish 
'67.  Ph.D.  '78,  and  Robert  H. 
Abzug,  Ph.D.  '77,  and  brought 
together  27  people  whose  asso 
ciation  with  Stampp  reached  all 
the  way  back  to  his  graduate 
school  days  at  the  University  of 

As  the  guests  raised  their 
glasses,  two  different  Stampps 
emerged.  Students  of  the  1950s 
remembered  a  rigorous  and  ex 
acting  mentor  who  drove  his 
proteges  to  their  limits.  "You've 
been  a  tough  commissar,"  de 
clared  Leon  E  Litwack  '51,  M.A. 
'52,  Ph.D.  '58,  winner  of  the 
1980  Pulitzer  Prize  in  history 
and  a  member  of  the  Berkeley 
faculty,  "but  we've  loved  you  as 
a  comrade."  Patrick  W.  Riddle 
berger,  MA.  '49,  Ph.D.  '53,  re 
called  how  poorly  prepared  he 
had  been  but  how  he  had  suc 
ceeded  because  he  was  forced 
to  perform  to  Stampp's  high 
standards.  On  the  other  hand, 
Mai/  and  Abzug,  students  of 
the  1970s,  recalled  a  more  be 
nevolent  Stampp  whose  mel 
lowing  seemed  to  coincide  with 
his  marriage  to  Isabel.  Stampp, 
in  response,  expressed  amaze 
ment  at  finding  "collapsed  in  one 
room"  students  whose  associa 
tion  with  him  spanned  37  years, 
calling  them  "the  most  remark 
able  group  of  people  I  have 

Bom  and  raised  in  Milwaukee, 
Stampp  earned  all  of  his  degrees 

at  Wisconsin,  taking  his  Ph.D. 
under  William  B.  Hesseltine. 
After  teaching  four  years  at 
Maryland,  he  joined  the  Berk 
eley  faculty  and,  in  1957,  suc 
ceeded  John  D.  Hicks  as  A.  F.  and 
May  T  Morrison  Professor  of 
History.  In  the  meantime,  he  was 
a  visiting  lecturer  at  Harvard,  a 
three-time  Fulbright  lecturer  at 
the  University  of  Munich,  a 
Commonwealth  Fund  Lecturer 
at  the  University  of  London,  a 
Visiting  Fellow  at  All  Souls  Col 
lege,  Oxford,  and  a  visiting  pro 
fessor  at  Colgate.  In  1961-62, 
Stampp  held  the  coveted  posi 
tion  of  Harmsworth  Professor 
of  American  History  at  Oxford 
(which  also  awarded  him  an 
M.A.  degree),  an  appointment 
accorded  only  the  most  distin 
guished  American  scholars. 
Among  his  awards  are  two 
Guggenheims,  an  honorary 
LH.D.  from  Wisconsin-Mil 
waukee,  and  a  Silver  Medal  from 
the  Commonwealth  Club  of 

Of  Stampp's  many  publica 
tions,  two  stand  out:  The  Pecu 
liar  Institution,  written  almost 
three  decades  ago,  remains  a 
standard  work  on  American 
slavery — complemented,  but 
not  superseded;  and  The  Era  of 
Reconstruction,  1865  187''  was 
such  a  breakthrough  in  the  revi 
sion  of  the  reconstruction  pe 
riod  that  in  April  1965  Time 
magazine  featured  it  in  a  two- 
page  review.  Of  the  reconstruc 
tion  revisionists,  the  reviewer 
wrote,  "Stampp  is  easily  the 
most  provocative." 

Of  course,  most  influential 
historians  are  acclaimed  not 
only  for  their  publications,  but, 
perhaps  more  significantly,  for 
their  students  who  have  gone 
on  to  establish  national  reputa 
tions.  One  celebrant  noted  that 

it  was  not  necessary  to  look  any 
further  than  the  AHA  program 
for  the  Stampp  imprint.  A  ses 
sion  on  race  and  politics  in  the 
antebellum  North  was  chaired 
by  Litwack,  featured  papers  by 
Maizlish  and  William  E.  Gienapp, 
Ph.D.  '80,  and  cited  the  research 
of  Forrest  G.  Wood,  Ph.D  65 
Even  the  advertisers  joined  in. 
Two  of  the  seven  books  listed  in 
a  Random  House  ad  were  writ 
ten  by  Janet  Sharp  Hermann, 
Ph.D.  '79,  and  James  P.  Oakes, 
'Ph.D.  '81.  While  Stampp  ex 
pressed  relief  that  "there  has 
never  been  a  Stampp  school  of 
history,"  even  he  could  not  deny 
that  some  of  his  former  students 
are  among  the  most  eminent 

historians  in  the  United  States, 
claiming  a  head-spinning  num 
ber  of  Guggenheims,  Fulbrights, 
and  NEH  fellowships. 

Meanwhile.  Stampp  shows  no 
sign  of  slowing  down.  As  if  to 
substantiate  Maizlish's  conten 
tion  that  "we  are  aiding  and 
abetting  statutory  retirement," 
Stampp  continues  his  research 
and  has  been  invited  back  by 
the  history  department  to  teach 
a  course  (one  of  the  ways  in 
which  the  history  faculty  hon 
ors  its  retired  laureates).  Per 
haps  the  past  preterit  emeritus 
after  Ken  Stampp's  name  should 
be  replaced  by  the  present 

— Forrest  G.  Wood 

CALIFORNIA     M  O  N  T  H  L  Y/  M  ARC  H  -  APR  I  L      1984 

INDEX- -Kenneth  M.  Stampp 


Abrams,  Richard,   159 

Abzug,  Robert  H.,   284,  286,  291, 

academic  freedom,   105-108,  234- 

239,  241-243,  252-254 
Academic  Senate 

Committee  on  Committees,   256- 


Committee  on  Privilege  and 

Tenure,   248-249 

Policy  Committee,  256-257. 

See  also  University  of 

California,  Berkeley 
Adams,  Henry,   278 
affirmative  action,   167,  245, 

African-American  culture,   195- 

197,  261,  281-283 
African-American  history,   187- 

188,  192,  214,  216,  230,  245- 

248,  258,  260-261,  284-285. 

See  also  slavery 
African-American  studies,   UC 

Berkeley,   245-248 
alcohol,  attitudes  toward,   3,  5, 

7-9,  22,  104 

Alexander,  Henry,   88-89 
America  in  1857,   266-267,  275- 

276,  296 
American  Association  of  University 

Professors,   106-107 
American  Friends  Service 

Committee,   99,  200 
American  Historical  Association, 

111-112,  130,  168,  210-211, 

227,  233,  251,  284-285 
American  Historical  Review,   112, 

115,  171,  189,  284 
American  history,  study  of,   121- 

122,  219-221,  245,  260-261; 

California  history,   122,  127 

colonial  history,   122,  161 

San  Francisco  history,   122 

American  history,  study  of 

Southern  history,   130-131, 


See  also  Civil  War 
American  Legion,   103,  165 
American  Political  Tradition,  The, 

And  the  War  Came,   123,  126,  128- 

131,  138-139,  170,  186,  198 
anti-Semitism,   137,  158-159,  169, 

antislavery  movement,   67-72,  98, 


master's  thesis  on,   50-52,  57, 

113-114,  130 
Aptheker,  Bettina,   235 
Aptheker,  Herbert,   131,  194,  230- 

231,  235,  252-254 
atheism,   6-7 

Baldwin,  Bob,   44,  75,  78 
Bancroft,  Frederick,   131 
Bancroft  Library,  The,   122 
Barker,  Charles,   108 
Barnes,  Tom,   227 
Beale,  Howard  K.,   112,  200 
Bean,  Walton,   122,  126,  146 
Beard,  Charles  A.  and  Mary,   37, 

39,  46,  54,  57,  61,  138-141, 

269-270,  278 

Bendix,  Reinhard,   146,  187 
Berger,  Victor  L.,   28-29 
Berkeley,  city  of,   142 

police,   142,  148 
Berkeley,  UC.   See  University  of 

California,  Berkeley 
Bingham,  Woodbridge,   157-158,  168 
black  studies,  UC  Berkeley.   See 

African-American  studies,  UC 


Black  Panther  party,   246-247 
Blassingame,  John,   252-253,  281 


Blum,  John,   213-215 

Bolton,  Herbert  Eugene,   121-122, 

146,  155,  187 
book  reviews,   114-119,  137,  188- 

192,  258 

Borah,  Woodrow,   234 
Boritt,  Gabor,   278 
Bouwsma,  Beverly,   152,  163,  168 
Bouwsma,  William,   151-157,  163, 


Bowers,  Claude,   259 
Boy  Scouts,   14,  23 

books,   17 

Brentano,  Robert,   157 
Bridenbaugh,  Carl,   139,  146,  151- 

153,  157,  160-164,  168-169, 

187,  198-199,  210-211,  227-229, 

246,  263 

Bridenbaugh,  Roberta,   162 
Bright,  Jesse,   69 
Brown,  Delmer,   153,  163,  168, 

205,  208,  227-228 
Brown,  Edmund  G. ,  Sr.,   156 
Brown  v.  Board  of  Education,   189 
Brucker,  Gene,   153-154,  156-157 
Burns,  Ken,   277 
Byrd,  Curly,   95-99,  105-108 

Calder,  Bill,   222 
California  State  Board  of 

Education,   260-261 
Campbell,  Alec,   224-225 
Carruthers,  Henry  Baker,   98-99 
Catton,  Bruce,   213-215 
Chambers,  Whittaker,   142 
Chapel  Hill,  North  Carolina, 

living  and  doing  research  in, 


Chappell,  John  B.,   36 
Chase,  Salmon  P.,   71 
Cheit,  Earl  "Budd",   255-256 
Chernin,  Milton,   146 
Chinese  history,   157-159 
civil  rights  movement,   189-190, 

231-234,  237,  243-245,  258 
Civil  War,   66-73,  89,  114-119, 

131,  138-139,  191,  194,  210, 

213-214,  220-221,  266-276,  283 

Civil  War  (cont'd.) 

Civil  War  Institute,   277-278 

and  Reconstruction,   59-61,  72, 

204,  230-231,  257-260 
Clemens,  Diane,   167 
Clinton,  William,   141 
Cold  War,   142-143,  221 
Cole,  Robert,   255-256 
Columbia  University,   100,  111- 

112,  120,  131,  185,  190 
Commager,  Henry  Steele,   100 
Commons,  John  R. ,   39-40 
Communist  party,   29-31,  41,  90, 

101,  131,  143-145,  147-149, 

158,  193-194,  230-231,  235,  241 
concentration  camps,  Nazi,   190- 

Congress  of  Racial  Equality 

(CORE),   233 

Constance,  Lincoln,   154,  168 
Craven,  Avery,   268-269 
Current,  Richard  Nelson,   58-62, 

77,  79-82,  130,  136,  143,  151- 

152,  185,  213,  215,  250 
Curti,  Merle,   100,  133,  160 

Davidson,  Malcolm,   147 
Davis,  Jefferson,   69,  118 
Davis,  Natalie,   167 
Dearing,  Mary  Rulkotter,   45-47, 

56,  57,  58,  74-75 
Debs,  Eugene  B.,   28-29 
Democratic  party,   66-72,  216, 

243,  255 

Americans  for  Democratic 

Action,   255 

peace  Democrats,   68-71 
Dennes,  William,   160 
Depression,   13,  24-25,  27,  29, 

33,  41,  70,  78-79,  103,  243 
Dewey,  Thomas,   144 

against  blacks,   45,  69-72, 

130,  138,  260-261,  279-281 

against  women,   47,  78-79,  98- 

99,  166-168. 

See  also  anti-Semitism 
Dobbs,  Farrell,   143-144 


Donald,  David,   189-190 
Douglas,  Helen  Gahagan, 
Douglas,  Stephen,   280-281 
Douglass,  Frederick,   182 
Drinnon,  Richard,   212,  218,  225 
DuBois,  W.  E.  B.,   252,  260 
Dunning,  William  A.,   259 
Dupree,  A.  Hunter,   139,  228-229 

economic  history,   180-182,  274, 

278,  288.   See  also  Beard, 

Charles  and  Mary 
Eisenhower,  Dwight  D. ,   144,  156 
Elkins,  Stanley,   190-191,  197 

Slavery,   190,  281 
emancipation,   71,  174,  180,  195 
Era  of  Reconstruction,  The,   257- 

ethnic  identity,   22-23,  27-29, 

34,  214-216,  262,  280-281,  284- 


faculty  appointments  and 

promotion,   144-145,  150. 

See  also  History,  Department 

of;  University  of  California, 


Pass,  Paula,   167,  263 
Filthy  Speech  Movement,   238 
Fish,  Carl  Russell,   35 
Foner,  Eric,   250-251,  259 
Ford,  Guy  Stanton,   112 
Fort  Sumter,   116-118,  279 
Foster,  William  C.,   31-32 
Franco,  Francisco,   111-112 
Frange,  Gordon,   99 
Franklin,  John  Hope,   187-188 

From  Slavery  to  Freedom,   188 
fraternity  life,   43-47,  74 
Free  Speech  Movement,   140,  206, 

229,  233-243,  255-258,  265,  274 
Free-Soilers,  antislavery.   See 

Republican  party 
freedom  of  speech,   41,  242,  254 
Freehling,  William  H.,   291,  294 
Freidel,  Frank,   77,  80,  90-91, 

94,  98,  103,  106-109,  111-112, 

Freidel,  Frank  (cont'd.)  120,  122, 

136,  151-152,  187,  213 
Fulbright,  Elizabeth  Williams, 


Fulbright,  J.  William,   87-88,  105 
Fulbright  lectureship,   200-204, 


Garbarino,  Joseph,   234 

Gardner,  David,   147 

Genovese,  Elizabeth  Fox,   193 

Genovese,  Eugene,   193-195,  281, 

Gewehr,  Wesley,   98,  102,  107, 
128,  134 

Gienapp,  Bill,   285,  289,  291,  294 

Gilder,  Richard,   277-278 

Goldberg,  Arthur,   242 

Goldwater,  Barry,  Sr.,   144 

graduate  students 

teaching  of,   47-50,  135,  137, 
164-169,  270,  284-285,  287-294 
as  teaching  assistants,   56-58, 
76-77,  79,  127-128,  131,  248- 

Greeley,  Horace,   68 

Gregory,  Alda,   102 

Griffiths,  Franham  P.,   145,  150 

Griffiths,  Gordon,   145,  150-152 

Guggenheim  fellowship,   174,  184 

Guttridge,  George,   146,  153-154, 

Hacker,  Lewis,   38-39 
Hamilton,  Alexander,   166 
Hamilton,  J.G.  deRoulhac,   176 
Hammond,  George,   122,  146 
Harcourt  Brace  (publishers), 

writing  textbook  for,   213-216, 


Harper,  Lawrence,   122,  146 
Harrington,  Fred  Harvey,   84,  86, 

88-90,  93,  131 
Harvard  University,   50,  85,  157- 

159,  161-162,  185-186,  190, 

229,  247,  290,  295 
Hayes,  Carlton  J.H. ,   111-112 


Heber,  Sam,   159 

Heffner,  Richard,   131,  170 

Helmholz,  Carl,   234 

Herr,  Richard,   156,  205-206 

Herskovits,  Melville,   196,  283 

Hesseltine,  William  B.,   35-39, 
45-48,  51-52,  56-59,  62-67,  76- 
77,  79,  80,  84-86,  91,  93,  120- 
121,  129,  131,  133-138,  167, 
190,  289 

Heyns,  Roger,   255-256 

Hicks,  John  D.,   35,  37,  52,  86, 
120-122,  124,  132-133,  135-136, 
138,  145-147,  151-152,  155, 
160-161,  163,  198-199 

Higby,  Chester  Perm,   64-65,  91 

Hiss,  Alger,   142 


early  interest  in,   16,  18-19, 


study  of,   18-19,  24-25,  35, 

47-52,  62-72 

teaching  high  school,   46-47, 


teaching  university  extension, 

78-79,  82-83 

History,  Department  of,  UC 

Berkeley,   120-122,  126-128, 

145-170,  204-212,  227-230,  250- 

251,  262-263,  287-294 

appointments  and  promotion, 

132,  136,  140,  144-145,  150- 

164,  198-200,  205-208,  212, 

227-229,  248-249,  261-262 

curriculum,   121-122,  127-128 

old  guard,   145-146,  153,  155- 

156,  160-161,  164,  228-229 

ranking,   161 

reactions  to  student  movement, 

239-242,  248-249 

transitions  in  1950s,  151-157, 


women  and  minorities  in,   165- 

168,  239,  247,  261-262. 

See  also  graduate  students; 


Hoan,  Daniel  Webster,   27-28 

Hofstadter,  Felice  Swados,   101, 
104,  109 

Hofstadter,  Richard,   94-95,  99- 
104,  106-112,  114,  120-123, 
129,  171,  185,  204,  233 

Hoover,  Herbert,   31-32,  243 

House  Un-American  Activities 
Committee,   142,  148 

Humphrey,  Hubert,   244 

Huntington  Library,   266,  275-276 

illnesses,   9-11,  20-21,  296-299 
Imperiled  Union,  The,   194,  268- 
270,  273 


dissertation  on  Civil  War 

politics  in,   66-73,  92,  114, 


in  the  1930s,   73-76 
intellectual  history,   104,  108, 

137,  139-140,  153,  155-156, 

159,  162,  165 
internationalism,   80 
isolationism,   80,  100-101 

Japanese-American  internment,   99, 


Jefferson,  Thomas,   166 
Jensen,  Merrill,   249 
Johnson,  Lyndon  B.,   238,  242-244 
Johnson,  Walter,   233 
Jordan,  Winthrop,   167,  170,  215, 

247,  260-261,  263 
Julian,  George  W. ,   71-72 

Kantorowicz,  Ernst,   145,  150-151, 


Kennedy,  John  Fitzgerald,   216 
Kerner,  Robert,   146,  156,  160-161 
Kerr,  Clark,   236,  241-242,  265 
Kiekhafer  family,   25-26,  44 
Kiekhofer,  William  Henry,   40 
King,  Jim,   122,  146,  152,  154, 

187,  208 

King,  Martin  Luther,   232 
Kinnaird,  Lawrence,   122,  156 
Knight,  Goodwin,   156 


Knight,  Walter,   245 

Knopf,  Alfred  (publishers),   128- 

129,  186-187,  191-192,  213,  258 
Know-Nothing  party.   See 

Republican  party 
Koch,  Adrienne,   110,  156,  165- 

167,  239,  263 
Kuhn,  Thomas  S.,   156,  159,  228- 


LaFollette,  Phil,   36 
LaFollette,  Robert  M. ,   29,  34, 

36,  80 
Landes,  David,   156,  159,  229, 


Landon,  Alfred,   31,  81,  144 
Lane,  Henry  S. ,   66 
languages,   200 

French,   49,  201 

German,   4-5,  49,  201-202 
League  of  Nations,   80,  100-101 
Lehrman,  Louis,   277-278 
Lend-Lease  Act,   86 
Leopold,  Aldo,   39 
Levenson,  Joseph,   157-159,  168- 

169,  228 
Levine,  Lawrence,   159,  195,  231- 

232,  247-248,  281 
Lincoln,  Abraham,   69,  71,  114- 

119,  131,  276-277,  279-281 
Lincoln  Prize,   188,  266,  276-278 
Lindbergh,  Charles,   101 
Lipset,  Seymour,   236 
literature,  interest  in,   16-17, 

Litwack,  Leon,   134,  159,  215, 

247-248,  291,  294 
Los  Angeles  Times,   149 
Louisiana  State  University  Press, 

loyalty  oath,  University  of 

California,   142,  144-151 

MacArthur,  Douglas,  99 

Macdonald,  Dwight,  109-110 

Madison,  Wisconsin,  1930s,   33-34, 
36,  84-85 

Malia,  Martin,   156,  240-242 
Margaret  Byrne  chair  in  history, 


Marquette  University,   25,  35 
Martin,  Waldo,   247 
Marxism,   38,  40,  60,  88,  110, 

139-140,  193-194,  260,  274 
Mathias,  Mildred,   168 
May,  Henry,   139-141,  151-153, 

164-166,  187,  199,  205,  228, 

240;  and  Jean,   141 
McCarthy,  Joseph,  and  McCarthyism, 

36,  142,  144,  148-149 
McCartney-Filgate,  Michele 

(stepdaughter),   226,  234,  299 
Mellon,  Stanley,   206-207 
memory,   183-184 
Middlekauff,  Bob,   248-249,  266 
Miller,  Kerby,   292 
Milligan,  Lambdin  P.,   68-69 
Mills,  C.  Wright,   94-95,  101-110, 

120,  165 

From  Max  Weber,   110 

White  Collar,   110 
Mills  College,   60,  130,  143,  151 
Milton,  George  Fort,   259 
Milwaukee  State  Teachers  College, 

7-8,  13-14,  23-25,  27,  29-32, 

Milwaukee,  Wisconsin,  1920s-30s, 

1,  13-14,  22-24,  27-30,  36, 

minorities  in  higher  education, 


See  also  University  of 

California,  Berkeley 
Morgan,  Ed,   213-215,  250 
Morgan  Library,   277 
Morison,  Emily,   129 
Morison,  Samuel  Eliot,   210 
Morrison  Chair,   198-200 
Morton,  Oliver  P.,   66-69,  71-72 
Mowry,  George,   124,  198 
music,  interest  in,   15,  22,  44 
My  Life  with  Lincoln,   279-281 
Myrdal,  Gunnar,   196 

NAACP,   114 


naprapathy,   10,  12-13,  19 
National  Youth  Administration,   52 
Nettels,  Curtis,   38-39,  62,  86 
New  Deal,   40,  70 
Nicholas,  Herbert,   222 
Nixon,  Richard,   142-144,  250, 

Nye,  Gerald  P.,   42,  80 

Olmsted,  Frederick  Law,   173 

Organization  of  American 

Historians,   233,  249-254,  285 

Otto,  Max,   39 

Owen,  Mary  Bankhead,   176-177 

Oxford  University,  Harmsworth 
professor  at,   203,  210-211, 
213,  216-224,  227,  270,  290 

pacifism,   29-31,  41,  44,  68-69, 

105,  119,  200,  279 
Palm,  Frank,   145-146,  156,  161 
Park,  Roderic,   257 
Paxson,  Frederic,   35,  122,  160- 

161,  199 
Peculiar  Institution,  The,   131, 

170-198,  210,  245-246,  258-259, 

277-278,  281,  294 
Pelling,  Henry,   221-224 
Perlman,  Selig,   39-40,  91 
Phillips,  U.S.,   114,  130-131, 

170-171,  173,  180,  183,  191, 


Pickens,  Governor,   118 
political  history,   284-286 
politics,  radical,   24,  27-32, 

44-45,  55,  101,  103-104,  110, 

130,  212,  274 
Politics,   109-110 
Potter,  David  M. ,   114-115,  119, 


Progressive  party,   29,  34 
Prohibition,   5,  8 
publications,  Stampp,   113-119, 

128-131,  137,  170-197,  232, 

257-260,  266-276,  279-281,  296 

Journal  of  Negro  History,   113- 

114,  171 

racism.   See  discrimination 
Rafferty,  Max,   260 
Randall,  James  G.,  131,  268-269 
Rappaport,  Armin,   146,  154-155, 


Reagan,  Ronald,   241,  255 
Regents,  UC.   See  University  of 

California,  statewide 
religion,   11,  17,  22,  25,  147, 

152,  271-272,  274,  286 

Baptists,   3-4,  53-55,  175 

Catholic,   25,  35 

Free  Methodist,   3-4 

German  Evangelicals,   2-3 

Methodist,  3-9,  14-15,  23,  75, 


Quaker,  99,  105,  200 

slave  religion,  194-195,  247, 


rent  control,   125-126 
Republican  party,   66-72,  255, 

280,  289 

Reynolds,  Robert,   57-58 
Riasanovsky,  Nicholas,   156,  207 
Roosevelt,  Franklin  D.,   31-32, 

33,  40,  42,  77,  80-81,  86,  90- 

91,  135,  144,  243 
Rosenberg,  Hans,   156,  158-159, 

205-206,  240 
Rosovsky,  Henry,   240 
ROTC,   31,  42 
Rubin,  Jerry,   238 

Sacramento  Bee,   149 
San  Francisco  Chronicle,   149 
Sanderlin,  Walter,   102 
Savio,  Mario,   235,  237 
Schachman,  Howard,   241-242 
Schaeffer,  Paul,   146,  153,  156 
Schlesinger,  Arthur,  Jr.,   213-216 
Schmidt,  Annie  Stoll 

(grandmother),   2-4,  9-13,  27 
Schmidt,  Henry  William 

(grandfather),   2-4,  9-10, 

12-14,  19,  24,  27-28 
Schorske,  Carl,   156,  205-208, 

228,  240,  256 
Schurmann,  Franz,   242 


Scott,  General,   117 
Seabury,  Paul,   255 
Searle,  John,   254-256 
segregation,   45,  87,  95,  178-179, 


See  also  discrimination; 

Sellers,  Charles,   139,  156,  231, 

233,  240,  241-242,  247,  248, 

260,  273-274 

Seward,  William  H.,   115,  117 
Shugg,  Roger,   129 
Silver,  Arthur,   99 
SLATE,   230-231 
slave  narratives,  as  historical 

sources,   183-184 
slavery,   119,  130-131,  137,  170- 

197,  244,  258,  266-274,  281- 

283,  285-288. 

See  also  antislavery  movement 
Sluiter,  Engel,   122,  126,  146 
Smith,  George  Winston,   56,  77,  93 
Smith,  Henry  Nash,   256 
social  history,   160-163 
Social  Darwinism  in  American 

Thought,  1860-1915,   100 
Social  Democrats,   27-29,  100 
socialism,   27-32,  39-41,  103-104, 

143-144,  221,  243 
Sontag,  Raymond,   126,  145-147, 

150,  152-155,  158-161,  163, 

199,  207,  240 
Southern  Historical  Association, 

191,  193 
Southern  Historical  Collections, 

Sproat,  John  C.,   291-294;  and 

Ruth,   292-293 
Sproul,  Robert  Gordon,   132,  141, 

145-147,  149,  160 
Stampp,  Eleanor  Schmidt  (mother), 

2-13,  15-16,  19-20,  25-29,  52, 

56,  62,  92,  201 
Stampp,  Isabel  (second  wife), 

141,  224-227,  234,  244,  255, 

275-276,  293-294,  296-299 
Stampp,  Jenny  (daughter),   234, 


Stampp,  Katherine  Mitchell  (first 

wife),   74-75,  78-82,  84,  87, 

89,  92-94,  104,  109,  113,  123- 

126,  163,  174,  201,  210-212, 

217,  300 
Stampp,  Kenneth  Mitchell  (son), 

92-94,  113,  123-126,  174-175, 

201,  210-211,  217,  226-227, 

Stampp,  Oscar  (father),   1-13, 

15-17,  19-20,  25-29,  52,  56, 

62,  92,  201 
Stampp,  Sara  Katherine  (daughter), 

113,  123-126,  159,  174-175, 

201,  210-211,  217,  223,  226- 

227,  234,  300 
Stampp,  Selma  (aunt),   2,  25-26, 

44,  52,  62-63,  73 
Stampp,  William  (grandfather), 

1-3,  9 

Stanford  University,   136 
Stevens,  Thaddeus,   59-61,  81 
Stevenson,  Adlai,   144 
Strong,  Edward,   230 
student  movement  at  Berkeley, 

41-42,  248-249 

in  Europe,   261-262. 

See  also  Free  Speech  Movement; 

University  of  California, 

students.   See  graduate  students, 

undergraduate  students 
suffrage,  black,   72,  87,  88,  258- 

259,  280 
Sullivan,  Harry  Stack,   190-191, 


Summers,  Mark,   292 
Susskind,  Charles,   242 

Taylor,  Paul,   187 

teaching  assistants.   See  graduate 


university,   264-265 
graduate,   287-294 
lecture  system,   127-128 
undergraduate,   85-86,  88-89, 
127-128,  202-203,  222,  261-262, 


ten  Broek,  Jacobus,  234,  237 
Thomas,  Norman,  31-32,  80-81 
tobacco,  attitudes  toward,  3,  8, 

54-55,  217 

Truman,  Harry,   143-144 
Turner,  Frederick  Jackson,   38 
Tuskegee  Institute,   231-232 
Tussman,  Joseph,   254 

undergraduate  students,  teaching 

of,   85-86,  88-89,  127-128, 

202-203,  222,  261-262,  287-288. 

See  also  teaching,  university 
unionism,  trade,   39-40 

AFL,   39 

CIO,   40 
United  States  Army,   99,  101,  103 

specialized  training  program, 

United  States  Congress,   28-29, 

36,  40,  42,  66,  69,  72,  80, 


See  also  House  Un-American 

Activities  Committee 
United  States  Navy,   107,  109 
United  States  Supreme  Court,   68- 

69,  178 
university  education.   See 

University  of  Wisconsin 
University  of  Arkansas,   84-90, 

92-93,  131,  295 
University  of  California,  Los 

Angeles,   198 
University  of  California, 

Berkeley,   120-170  passim,  198- 

200,  204,  211,  227-257  passim, 

243-248,  264-265,  287-294 

Academic  Senate,   234-239,  241- 

242,  256-257 

Department  of  Speech,  234 

faculty  promotion,   132,  136, 

141,  150,  207 

financial  resources  of,   132 

library  collections,   126-127, 

132,  141 

retirement  benefits,   199-200 

shortcomings,   126-127,  222 

University  of  California,  Berkeley 


during  student  unrest  of  1960s, 
41-42,  203,  230-243,  254-257 
women  and  minorities  on 
faculty,   156,  165-168,  239, 
247,  262-263. 
See  also  Academic  Senate; 
History,  Department  of,  UC 
Berkeley;  loyalty  oath; 
Teaching,  university 

University  of  California,  Davis, 

University  of  California 

(statewide),  Regents,   145-150, 
239,  241-242 

University  of  Illinois,   131-133, 
136,  142,  151-152,  185 

University  of  London,   200,  204, 
206-207,  209,  258 

University  of  Maryland,   73,  93- 
110,  134,  165-167,  174,  200, 

University  of  Munich,  Amerika 
Institut,   192,  200-204,  261- 

University  of  Washington,   149-150 

University  of  Wisconsin,  Madison, 
26-27,  33-52  passim,  56-59, 
62-65,  76-77,  100,  102-103, 
108,  243,  288 

faculty,   34-40,  131-132,  142, 

history  department,   34-40,  43, 
47-52,  56-59,  62-65,  76-77,  84- 
85,  91,  123,  131-132,  135,  142, 
144,  159,  164,  167-168,  174 
philosophy  department,   39-40 
School  of  Education,   35 
sociology  department,   102-103, 

Theta  Xi  fraternity,   43-47 
University  Extension,   76-77, 
82-85,  91,  93 

University  of  Wisconsin, 
Milwaukee,   34 

Van  Nostrand,  John,   146,  156,  161 


Vietnam  War,   41-42,  238,  242-245, 

Cambodian  invasion,   248-250, 

Wallace,  Henry,   143 

Warren,  Earl,   149,  156 

Wayne  State  University,   192,  246 

Wecter,  Dixon,   160-161 

Whigs.   See  Republican  party 

Williams  College,  teaching  at, 


Williams,  T.  Harry,   213 
Williams,  William  Appleman,   251- 


Wilson,  Woodrow,   29 
Wisconsin  Historical  Society,   51, 

67,  79 
women,  in  higher  education,   45- 

47,  56,  96,  98-99,  102,  110, 

156,  165-168,  222,  262-263 

in  historical  writing,   214- 

216,  284-285 

Woodson,  Carter,   113-114 
Woodward,  C.  Vann,   179,  188-189, 

191,  213-215,  233,  252-253 
World  Court,   80,  100-101 
World  War  I,   29,  42,  80,  89,  92, 

100,  103,  252 
World  War  II,   31,  80-81,  86,  89- 

92,  94,  96,  99-101,  103,  106- 

107,  109,  112,  114,  119,  126, 

134-135,  137,  159,  201-203, 

252,  262,  292 
writing  history,   119,  137,  184- 

186,  192,  213-216,  222-223, 

252,  258-260,  266-267,  268-276, 

278-279,  284-286,  296 

Yale  University,   252-254 
Zelnick,  Reginald,   242 

October  1997 


Documenting  the  history  of  the  University  of  California  has  been  a 
responsibility  of  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office  since  the  Office  was 
established  in  1954.  Oral  history  memoirs  with  University-related  persons 
are  listed  below.  They  have  been  underwritten  by  the  UC  Berkeley 
Foundation,  the  Chancellor's  Office,  University  departments,  or  by 
extramural  funding  for  special  projects.  The  oral  histories,  both  tapes 
and  transcripts,  are  open  to  scholarly  use  in  The  Bancroft  Library. 
Bound,  indexed  copies  of  the  transcripts  are  available  at  cost  to 
manuscript  libraries. 


Adams,  Frank.   Irrigation,  Reclamation,  and  Water  Administration.   1956, 
491  pp. 

Amerine,  Maynard  A.   The  University  of  California  and  the  State's  Wine 
Industry.   1971,  142  pp.   (UC  Davis  professor.) 

Amerine,  Maynard  A.   Wine  Bibliographies  and  Taste  Perception  Studies. 
1988,  91  pp.   (UC  Davis  professor.) 

Bierman,  Jessie.   Maternal  and  Child  Health  in  Montana,  California,  the 
U.S.  Children's  Bureau  and  WHO,  1926-1967.   1987,  246  pp. 

Bird,  Grace.   Leader  in  Junior  College  Education  at  Bakersfield  and  the 
University  of  California.   Two  volumes,  1978,  342  pp. 

Birge,  Raymond  Thayer.   Raymond  Thayer  Birge,  Physicist.   1960,  395  pp. 

Blaisdell,  Allen  C.   Foreign  Students  and  the  Berkeley  International 
House,  1928-1961.   1968,  419  pp. 

Blaisdell,  Thomas  C.,  Jr.   India  and  China  in  the  World  War  I  Era;  New 
Deal  and  Marshall  Plan;  and  University  of  California,  Berkeley. 
1991,  373  pp. 

Blum,  Henrik.   (In  process.)   Professor  Emeritus,  Health  Policy  & 

Bowker,  Albert.   Sixth  Chancellor,  University  of  California,  Berkeley, 
1971-1980;  Statistician,  and  National  Leader  in  the  Policies  and 
Politics  of  Higher  Education.   1995,  274  pp. 

Brown,  Delmer  M.   (In  process.)   Professor  of  Japanese  history,  1946- 

Chaney,  Ralph  Works.  Paleobotanist,  Conservationist.   1960,  277  pp. 

Chao,  Yuen  Ren.   Chinese  Linguist,  Phonologist,  Composer,  and  Author. 
1977,  242  pp. 

Constance,  Lincoln.   Versatile  Berkeley  Botanist:  Plant  Taxonomy  and 
University  Governance.   1987,  362  pp. 

Corley,  James  V.   Serving  the  University  in  Sacramento.   1969,  143  pp. 
Cross,  Ira  Brown.  Portrait  of  an  Economics  Professor.   1967,  128  pp. 

Cruess,  William  V.  A  Half  Century  in  Food  and  Wine  Technology.   1967, 
122  pp. 

Davidson,  Mary  Blossom.   The  Dean  of  Women  and  the  Importance  of 
Students.   1967,  79  pp. 

Davis,  Banner.   Founder  of  the  Institute  of  Transportation  and  Traffic 
Engineering.   1997,  173  pp. 

DeMars,  Vernon.  A  Life  in  Architecture:  Indian  Dancing,  Migrant 
Housing,  Telesis,  Design  for  Urban  Living,  Theater,  Teaching. 
1992,  592  pp. 

Dennes,  William  R.   Philosophy  and  the  University  Since  1915.   1970, 
162  pp. 

Donnelly,  Ruth.   The  University's  Role  in  Housing  Services.   1970, 
129  pp. 

Ebright,  Carroll  "Ky".   California  Varsity  and  Olympics  Crew  Coach. 
1968,  74  pp. 

Eckbo,  Garrett.  Landscape  Architecture:  The  Profession  in  California, 
1935-1940,  and  Telesis.   1993,  103  pp. 

Elberg,  Sanford  S.   Graduate  Education  and  Microbiology  at  the 

University  of  California,  Berkeley,  1930-1989.   1990,  269  pp. 

Erdman,  Henry  E.   Agricultural  Economics:  Teaching,  Research,  and 

Writing,  University  of  California,  Berkeley,  1922-1969.   1971, 
252  pp. 

Esherick,  Joseph.   An  Architectural  Practice  in  the  San  Francisco  Bay 
Area,  1938-1996.   1996,  800  pp. 

Evans,  Clinton  W.   California  Athlete,  Coach,  Administrator,  Ambassador. 
1968,  106  pp. 

Foster,  Herbert  B.   The  Role  of  the  Engineer's  Office  in  the  Development 
of  the  University  of  California  Campuses.   1960,  134  pp. 

Gardner,  David  Pierpont.  A  Life  in  Higher  Education:  Fifteenth 

President  of  the  University  of  California,  1983-1992.   1997, 
810  pp. 

Grether,  Ewald  T.  Dean  of  the  UC  Berkeley  Schools  of  Business 

Administration,  1943-1961;  Leader  in  Campus  Administration,  Public 
Service,  and  Marketing  Studies;  and  Forever  a  Teacher.   1993, 
1069  pp. 

Hagar,  Ella  Barrows.   Continuing  Memoirs:  Family,  Community, 

University.   (Class  of  1919,  daughter  of  University  President  David 
P.  Barrows.)   1974,  272  pp. 

Hamilton,  Brutus.   Student  Athletics  and  the  Voluntary  Discipline. 
1967,  50  pp. 

Harding,  Sidney  T.   A  Life  in  Western  Water  Development.   1967,  524  pp. 

Harris,  Joseph  P.  Professor  and  Practitioner:  Government,  Election 
Reform,  and  the  Votomatic .   1983,  155  pp. 

Hays,  William  Charles.   Order,  Taste,  and  Grace  in  Architecture.   1968, 
241  pp. 

Heller,  Elinor  Raas.   A  Volunteer  in  Politics,  in  Higher  Education,  and 
on  Governing  Boards.   Two  volumes,  1984,  851  pp. 

Helmholz,  A.  Carl.   Physics  and  Faculty  Governance  at  the  University  of 
California  Berkeley,  1937-1990.   1993,  387  pp. 

Heyman,  Ira  Michael.   (In  process.)   Professor  of  Law  and  Berkeley 
Chancellor,  1980-1990. 

Heyns,  Roger  W.   Berkeley  Chancellor,  1965-1971:  The  University  in  a 
Turbulent  Society.   1987,  180  pp. 

Hildebrand,  Joel  H.   Chemistry,  Education,  and  the  University  of 
California.   1962,  196  pp. 

Huff,  Elizabeth.   Teacher  and  Founding  Curator  of  the  East  Asiatic 

Library:  from  Urbana  to  Berkeley  by  Way  of  Peking.   1977,  278  pp. 

Huntington,  Emily.   A  Career  in  Consumer  Economics  and  Social  Insurance. 
1971,  111  pp. 

Hutchison,  Claude  B.   The  College  of  Agriculture,  University  of 
California,  1922-1952.   1962,  524  pp. 

Jenny,  Hans.   Soil  Scientist,  Teacher,  and  Scholar.   1989,  364  pp. 

Johnston,  Marguerite  Kulp,  and  Joseph  R.  Mixer.   Student  Housing, 
Welfare,  and  the  ASUC.   1970,  157  pp. 

Jones,  Mary  C.   Harold  S.  Jones  and  Mary  C.  Jones,  Partners  in 
Longitudinal  Studies.   1983,  154  pp. 

Joslyn,  Maynard  A.  A  Technologist  Views  the  California  Wine  Industry. 
1974,  151  pp. 

Kasimatis,  Amandus  N.  A  Career  in  California  Viticulture.   1988,  54  pp. 
(UC  Davis  professor.) 

Kendrick,  James  B.  Jr.  Front  Plant  Pathologist  to  Vice  President  for 
Agricultural  and  Natural  Resources,  University  of  California, 
1947-1986.   1989,  392  pp. 

Kingman,  Harry  L.   Citizenship  in  a  Democracy.   (Stiles  Hall,  University 
YMCA.)   1973,  292  pp. 

Roll,  Michael  J.   The  Lair  of  the  Bear  and  the  Alumni  Association,  1949- 
1993.   1993,  387  pp. 

Kragen,  Adrian  A.   A  Law  Professor's  Career:  Teaching,  Private  Practice, 
and  Legislative  Representation,  1934  to  1989.   1991,  333  pp. 

Kroeber-Quinn,  Theodora.   Timeless  Woman,  Writer  and  Interpreter  of  the 
California  Indian  World.   1982,  453  pp. 

Landreth,  Catherine.   The  Nursery  School  of  the  Institute  of  Child 

Welfare  of  the  University  of  California,  Berkeley.   1983,  51  pp. 

Langelier,  Wilfred  E.   Teaching,  Research,  and  Consultation  in  Water 
Purification  and  Sewage  Treatment,  University  of  California  at 
Berkeley,  1916-1955.   1982,  81  pp. 

Lehman,  Benjamin  H.   Recollections  and  Reminiscences  of  Life  in  the  Bay 
Area  from  1920  Onward.   1969,  367  pp. 

Lenzen,  Victor  F.   Physics  and  Philosophy.   1965,  206  pp. 

Leopold,  Luna.   Hydrology,  Geomorphology,  and  Environmental  Policy:  U.S. 
Geological  Survey,  1950-1972,  and  the  UC  Berkeley,  1972-1987. 
1993,  309  pp. 

Lessing,  Ferdinand  D.   Early  Years.   (Professor  of  Oriental  Languages.) 
1963,  70  pp. 

McGauhey,  Percy  H.   The  Sanitary  Engineering  Research  Laboratory: 
Administration,  Research,  and  Consultation,  1950-1972.   1974, 
259  pp. 

McCaskill,  June.   Herbarium  Scientist,  University  of  California,  Davis. 
1989,  83  pp.   (UC  Davis  professor.) 

McLaughlin,  Donald.   Careers  in  Mining  Geology  and  Management, 
University  Governance  and  Teaching.   1975,  318  pp. 

Merritt,  Ralph  P.   After  Me  Cometh  a  Builder,  the  Recollections  of  Ralph 
Palmer  Merritt.   1962,  137  pp.   (UC  Rice  and  Raisin  Marketing.) 

Metcalf,  Woodbridge.   Extension  Forester,  1926-1956.   1969,  138  pp. 

Meyer,  Karl  F.   Medical  Research  and  Public  Health.   1976,  439  pp. 
Miles,  Josephine.  Poetry,  Teaching,  and  Scholarship.   1980,  344  pp. 
Mitchell,  Lucy  Sprague.   Pioneering  in  Education.   1962,  174  pp. 

Morgan,  Elmo.  Physical  Planning  and  Management:  Los  Alamos,  University 
of  Utah,  University  of  California,  and  AID,  1942-1976.   1992, 
274  pp. 

Neuhaus,  Eugen.  Reminiscences;  Bay  Area  Art  and  the  University  of 
California  Art  Department.   1961,  48  pp. 

Newell,  Pete.   UC  Berkeley  Athletics  and  a  Life  in  Basketball:  Coaching 
Collegiate  and  Olympic  Champions;  Managing,  Teaching,  and 
Consulting  in  the  NBA,  1935-1995.   1997,  470  pp. 

Newman,  Frank.  Professor  of  Law,  University  of  California,  Berkeley, 

1946-present,  Justice,  California  Supreme  Court,  1977-1983.   1994, 
336  pp.   (Available  through  California  State  Archives.) 

Neylan,  John  Francis.   Politics,  Law,  and  the  University  of  California. 
1962,  319  pp. 

Nyswander,  Dorothy  B.  Professor  and  Activist  for  Public  Health 
Education  in  the  Americas  and  Asia.   1994,  318  pp. 

O'Brien,  Morrough  P.  I>ean  of  the  College  of  Engineering,  Pioneer  in 
Coastal  Engineering,  and  Consultant  to  General  Electric.  1989, 
313  pp. 

Olmo,  Harold  P.   Plant  Genetics  and  New  Grape  Varieties.   1976,  183  pp. 
(UC  Davis  professor.) 

Ough,  Cornelius.   Recollections  of  an  Enologist,  University  of 
California,  Davis,  1950-1990.   1990,  66  pp. 

Pepper,  Stephen  C.  Art  and  Philosophy  at  the  University  of  California, 
1919-1962.   1963,  471  pp. 

Pitzer,  Kenneth.   (In  process.)   Professor,  College  of  Chemistry. 

Porter,  Robert  Langley.   Physician,  Teacher  and  Guardian  of  the  Public 
Health.   1960,  102  pp.   (UC  San  Francisco  professor.) 

Reeves,  William.   Arbovirologist  and  Professor,  UC  Berkeley  School  of 
Public  Health.   1993,  686  pp. 

Revelle,  Roger.   Oceanography,  Population  Resources  and  the  World. 
1988.   (UC  San  Diego  professor.)   (Available  through  Archives, 
Scripps  Institute  of  Oceanography,  University  of  California,  San 
Diego,  La  Jolla,  California  92093.) 

Riasanovsky,  Nicholas  V.   Professor  of  Russian  and  European  Intellectual 
History,  University  of  California,  Berkeley,  1957-1997.   1998, 
310  pp. 

Richardson,  Leon  J.  Berkeley  Culture,  University  of  California 

Highlights,  and  University  Extension,  1892-1960.   1962,  248  pp. 

Robb,  Agnes  Roddy.  Robert  Gordon  Sproul  and  the  University  of 
California.   1976,  134  pp. 

Rossbach,  Charles  Edwin.  Artist,  Mentor,  Professor,  Writer.   1987, 
157  pp. 

Schnier,  Jacques.   A  Sculptor's  Odyssey.   1987,  304  pp. 

Schorske,  Carl  E.   (In  process.)   Professor,  Department  of  History. 

Scott,  Geraldine  Knight.  A  Woman  in  Landscape  Architecture  in 
California,  1926-1989.   1990,  235  pp. 

Shields,  Peter  J.  Reminiscences  of  the  Father  of  the  Davis  Campus. 
1954,  107  pp. 

Sproul,  Ida  Wittschen.   The  President's  Wife.   1981,  347  pp. 

Stampp,  Kenneth  M.  Historian  of  Slavery,  the  Civil  War,  and 

Reconstruction,  University  of  California,  Berkeley,  1946-1983. 
1998,  313  pp. 

Stern,  Milton.   The  Learning  Society:  Continuing  Education  at  NYU, 
Michigan,  and  UC  Berkeley,  1946-1991.   1993,  292  pp. 

Stevens,  Frank  C.   Forty  Years  in  the  Office  of  the  President, 
University  of  California,  1905-1945.   1959,  175  pp. 

Stewart,  George  R.   A  Little  of  Myself.   (Author  and  UC  Professor  of 
English.)   1972,  319  pp. 

Stripp,  Fred  S.  Jr.   l/niversity  Debate  Coach,  Berkeley  Civic  Leader, 
and  Pastor.   1990,  75  pp. 

Strong,  Edward  W.   Philosopher,  Professor,  and  Berkeley  Chancellor, 
1961-1965.   1992,  530  pp. 

Struve,  Gleb.   (In  process.)   Professor  of  Slavic  Languages  and 

Taylor,  Paul  Schuster. 

Volume  I:  Education,  Field  Research,  and  Family,  1973,  342  pp. 
Volume  II  and  Volume  III:  California  Water  and  Agricultural  Labor, 
1975,  519  pp. 

Thygeson,  Phillips.  External  Eye  Disease  and  the  Proctor  Foundation. 
1988,  321  pp.  (UC  San  Francisco  professor.)  (Available  through 
the  Foundation  of  the  American  Academy  of  Ophthalmology.) 

Tien,  Chang-Lin.   (In  process.)   Berkeley  Chancellor,  1990-1997. 
Towle,  Katherine  A.   Administration  and  Leadership.   1970,  369  pp. 

Townes,  Charles  H.   A  Life  in  Physics:  Bell  Telephone  Laboratories  and 
WWII,  Columbia  University  and  the  Laser,  MIT  and  Government 
Service;  California  and  Research  in  Astrophysics.   1994,  691  pp. 

Underbill,  Robert  M.   University  of  California:  Lands,  Finances,  and 
Investments.   1968,  446  pp. 

Vaux,  Henry  J.  Forestry  in  the  Public  Interest:  Education,  Economics, 
State  Policy,  1933-1983.   1987,  337  pp. 

Wada,  Yori.   Working  for  Youth  and  Social  Justice:  The  YMCA,  the 

University  of  California,  and  the  Stulsaft  Foundation.   1991, 
203  pp. 

Waring,  Henry  C.  Henry  C.  Waring  on  University  Extension.   1960, 
130  pp. 

Wellman,  Harry.   Teaching,  Research  and  Administration,  University  of 
California,  1925-1968.   1976,  259  pp. 

Wessels,  Glenn  A.   Education  of  an  Artist.   1967,  326  pp. 

Westphal,  Katherine.  Artist  and  Professor.   1988,  190  pp.   (UC  Davis 
professor. ) 

Whinnery,  John.   Researcher  and  Educator  in  Electromagnetics, 

Microwaves,  and  Optoelectronics,  1935-1995;  Dean  of  the  College  of 
Engineering,  UC  Berkeley,  1950-1963.   1996,  273  pp. 

Wiegel,  Robert  L.   Coastal  Engineering:  Research,  Consulting,  and 
Teaching,  1946-1997.   1997,  327  pp. 

Williams,  Arleigh.   Dean  of  Students  Arleigh  Williams:  The  Free  Speech 
Movement  and  the  Six  Years'  War,  1964-1970.   1990,  329  pp. 

Williams,  Arleigh  and  Betty  H.  Neely.   Disabled  Students'  Residence 
Program.   1987,  41  pp. 

Wilson,  Garff  B.   The  Invisible  Man,  or,  Public  Ceremonies  Chairman  at 
Berkeley  for  Thirty-Five  Years.   1981,  442  pp. 

Winkler,  Albert  J.   Wticultural  Research  at  UC  Davis,  1921-1971.   1973, 
144  pp. 

Woods,  Baldwin  M.   University  of  California  Extension.   1957,  102  pp. 

Wurster,  William  Wilson.   College  of  Environmental  Design,  University  of 
California,  Campus  Planning,  and  Architectural  Practice.   1964, 
339  pp. 


Blake  Estate  Oral  History  Project.   1988,  582  pp. 

Architects  landscape  architects,  gardeners,  presidents  of  UC 
document  the  history  of  the  UC  presidential  residence.   Includes 
interviews  with  Mai  Arbegast,  Igor  Blake,  Ron  and  Myra  Brocchini, 
Toichi  Domoto,  Eliot  Evans,  Tony  Hail,  Linda  Haymaker,  Charles 
Hitch,  Flo  Holmes,  Clark  and  Kay  Kerr,  Gerry  Scott,  George  and 
Helena  Thacher,  Walter  Vodden,  and  Norma  Wilier. 

Centennial  History  Project,  1954-1960.   329  pp. 

Includes  interviews  with  George  P.  Adams,  Anson  Stiles  Blake, 
Walter  C.  Blasdale,  Joel  H.  Hildebrand,  Samuel  J.  Holmes,  Alfred  L. 
Kroeber,  Ivan  M.  Linforth,  George  D.  Louderback,  Agnes  Fay  Morgan, 
and  William  Popper.   (Bancroft  Library  use  only.) 

Thomas  D.  Church,  Landscape  Architect.   Two  volumes,  1978,  803  pp. 

Volume  I:  Includes  interviews  with  Theodore  Bernardi,  Lucy  Butler, 
June  Meehan  Campbell,  Louis  De  Monte,  Walter  Doty,  Donn  Emmons, 
Floyd  Gerow,  Harriet  Henderson,  Joseph  Howland,  Ruth  Jaffe,  Burton 
Litton,  Germane  Milano,  Miriam  Pierce,  George  Rockrise,  Robert 
Royston,  Geraldine  Knight  Scott,  Roger  Sturtevant,  Francis  Violich, 
and  Harold  Watkin. 

Volume  II:  Includes  interviews  with  Maggie  Baylis,  Elizabeth 
Roberts  Church,  Robert  Glasner,  Grace  Hall,  Lawrence  Halprin, 
Proctor  Mellquist,  Everitt  Miller,  Harry  Sanders,  Lou  Schenone, 
Jack  Stafford,  Goodwin  Steinberg,  and  Jack  Wagstaff. 

Interviews  with  Dentists.   CDental  History  Project,  University  of 

California,  San  Francisco.)   1969,  1114  pp.   Includes  interviews 
with  Dickson  Bell,  Reuben  L.  Blake,  Willard  C.  Fleming,  George  A. 
Hughes,  Leland  D.  Jones,  George  F.  McGee,  C.  E.  Rutledge,  William 

B.  Ryder,  Jr.,  Herbert  J.  Samuels,  Joseph  Sciutto,  William  S. 
Smith,  Harvey  Stallard,  George  E.  Steninger,  and  Abraham  W.  Ward. 
(Bancroft  Library  use  only.) 

Julia  Morgan  Architectural  History  Project.   Two  volumes,  1976,  621  pp. 
Volume  I:  The  Work  of  Walter  Steilberg  and  Julia  Morgan,  and  the 
Department  of  Architecture,  UCB,  1904-1954. 

Includes  interviews  with  Walter  T.  Steilberg,  Robert  Ratcliff, 
Evelyn  Paine  Ratcliff,  Norman  L.  Jensen,  John  E.  Wagstaff,  George 

C.  Hodges,  Edward  B.  Hussey,  and  Warren  Charles  Perry. 

Julia  Morgan  Architectural  History  Project. 

Volume  II:  Julia  Morgan,  Her  Office,  and  a  House. 

Includes  interviews  with  Mary  Grace  Barren,  Kirk  0.  Rowlands,  Norma 

Wilier,  Quintilla  Williams,  Catherine  Freeman  Nimitz,  Polly 

Lawrence  McNaught,  Hettie  Belle  Marcus,  Bjarne  Dahl,  Bjarne  Dahl, 

Jr.,  Morgan  North,  Dorothy  Wormser  Coblentz,  and  Flora  d'llle 


The  Prytaneans:  An  Oral  History  of  the  Prytanean  Society  and  its 
Members.   (Order  from  Prytanean  Society.) 
Volume  I:    1901-1920,  1970,  307  pp. 
Volume  II:   1921-1930,  1977,  313  pp. 
Volume  III:  1931-1935,  1990,  343  pp. 

Six  Weeks  in  Spring,  1985:  Managing  Student  Protest  at  UC  Berkeley. 

887  pp.   Transcripts  of  sixteen  interviews  conducted  during  July- 
August  1985  documenting  events  on  the  UC  Berkeley  campus  in  April- 
May  1985  and  administration  response  to  student  activities 
protesting  university  policy  on  investments  in  South  Africa. 
Interviews  with:  Ira  Michael  Heyman,  chancellor;  Watson  Laetsch, 
vice  chancellor;  Roderic  Park,  vice  chancellor;  Ronald  Wright,  vice 
chancellor;  Richard  Hafner,  public  affairs  officer;  John  Cummins 
and  Michael  R.  Smith,  chancellor's  staff;  Patrick  Hayashi  and  B. 
Thomas  Travers,  undergraduate  affairs;  Mary  Jacobs,  Hal  Reynolds, 
and  Michelle  Woods,  student  affairs;  Derry  Bowles,  William  Foley, 
Joseph  Johnson,  and  Ellen  Stetson,  campus  police.   (Bancroft 
Library  use  only.) 

Robert  Gordon  Sproul  Oral  History  Project.   Two  volumes,  1986,  904  pp. 
Includes  interviews  with  Horace  Albright,  Stuart  LeRoy  Anderson, 
Katherine  Bradley,  Dyke  Brown,  Natalie  Cohen,  Paul  A.  Dodd,  May 
Dornin,  Richard  E.  Erickson,  Walter  S.  Frederick,  David  P.  Gardner, 
Vernon  Goodin,  Marion  Sproul  Goodin,  Louis  Heilbron,  Clark  Kerr, 
Adrian  Kragen,  Robert  S.  Johnson,  Mary  Blumer  Lawrence,  Donald 
McLaughlin,  Dean  McHenry,  Stanley  E.  McCaffrey,  Kendric  and  Marion 
Morrish,  William  Penn  Mott,  Jr.,  Herman  Phleger,  John  B.  deC.  M. 
Saunders,  Carl  Sharsmith,  John  Sproul,  Robert  Gordon  Sproul,  Jr., 
Wallace  Sterling,  Wakefield  Taylor,  Robert  Underbill,  Garff  Wilson, 
and  Pete  L.  Yzaquirre. 

The  University  of  California  during  the  Presidency  of  David  P.  Gardner, 
1983-1992.   (In  process.) 

Interviews  with  members  of  the  university  community  and  state 
government  officials. 

The  Women's  Faculty  Club  of  the  University  of  California  at  Berkeley, 
1919-1982.   1983,  312  pp. 

Includes  interviews  with  Josephine  Smith,  Margaret  Murdock,  Agnes 
Robb,  May  Dornin,  Josephine  Miles,  Gudveig  Gordon-Britland, 
Elizabeth  Scott,  Marian  Diamond,  Mary  Ann  Johnson,  Eleanor  Van 
Horn,  and  Katherine  Van  Valer  Williams. 


Broussard,  Allen.  A  California  Supreme  Court  Justice  Looks  at  Law  and 
Society,  1969-1996.   1997,  266  pp. 

Ferguson,  Lloyd  Noel.   Increasing  Opportunities  in  Chemistry,  1936-1986. 
1992,  74  pp. 

Gordon,  Walter  A.  Athlete,  Officer  in  Law  Enforcement  and 

Administration,  Governor  of  the  Virgin  Islands.   Two  volumes,  1980, 
621  pp.   Vol.  I  $82;  Vol.  II 

Jackson,  Ida.   Overcoming  Barriers  in  Education.   1990,  80  pp. 

Patterson,  Charles.   Working  for  Civic  Unity  in  Government,  Business, 
and  Philanthropy.   1994,  220  pp. 

Pittman,  Tarea  Hall.  NAACP  Official  and  Civil  Rights  Worker.   1974, 
159  pp. 

Poston,  Marvin.   Making  Opportunities  in  Vision  Care.   1989,  90  pp. 

Rice,  Emmett  J.   Education  of  an  Economist:  From  Fulbright  Scholar  to 
the  Federal  Reserve  Board,  1951-1979.   1991,  92  pp. 

Rumford,  William  Byron.   Legislator  for  Fair  Employment,  Fair  Housing, 
and  Public  Health.   1973,  152  pp. 

Williams,  Archie.   The  Joy  of  Flying:  Olympic  Gold,  Air  Force  Colonel, 
and  Teacher.   1993,  85  pp. 

Wilson,  Lionel.   Attorney,  Judge,  Oakland  Mayor.   1992,  104  pp. 


Bennett,  Mary  Woods  (class  of  1931).   A  Career  in  Higher  Education: 
Mills  College  1935-1974.   1987,  278  pp. 

Bridges,  Robert  L.  (class  of  1930).   (In  process.)   Career  in  Law 

Browne,  Alan  K.  (class  of  1931).   "Mr.  Municipal  Bond":  Bond  Investment 
Management,  Bank  of  America,  1929-1971.   1990,  325  pp. 

Dettner,  Ann  Degruchy  Low-Beer  (class  of  1926).   A  Roman's  Place  in 
Science  and  Public  Affairs,  1932-1973.   1996,  260  pp. 

Devlin,  Marion  (class  of  1931).   Women's  News  Editor:  Vallejo  Times- 
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Kay,  Harold  (class  of  1931).   A  Berkeley  Boy's  Service  to  the  Medical 
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B.A.,  and  M.A.,  in  History,  University  of 
California,  Berkeley. 

Postgraduate  studies,  University  of 
California,  Berkeley,  American  history  and 

Chairman,  Sierra  Club  History  Committee,  1978-1986; 
oral  history  coordinator,  1974-present;  Chairman, 
Sierra  Club  Library  Committee,  1993-present. 

Interviewer/Editor,  Regional  Oral  History 
Office,  in  the  fields  of  natural  resources 
and  the  environment,  university  history, 
California  political  history,  1976-present. 

Principal  Editor,  assistant  office  head,  Regional 
Oral  History  Office,  1994-present.